Stay Home Stories: Archie Ryan
In the column ‘Stay Home Stories’, the cyclists of Team Jumbo-Visma talk about t...
The Vuelta a España has started very unfortunately for Team Jumbo-Visma. Four riders from the team of Addy Engels and Grischa Niermann crashed halfway through the 13.4 kilometre long team time trial and eventually lost forty seconds on the winning team Astana.
Neilson Powless, Lennard Hofstede, Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk went down on a sudden wet patch of road. At first glance it seems there is little physical damage. Sepp Kuss had a mechanical failure and had to be left behind soon after the start.
German time trial champion Tony Martin tells his story. “We were riding at full speed towards that bend when things went sideways. There was no way to avoid it. We couldn't react in time, and the guys in the front slipped away on the wet road surface. Luckily everyone was able to continue their ride. Now we will have to see how things go, day by day. For now this is a blow to our morale."
Sports director Addy Engels is also licking his wounds. “It's far from ideal to start a grand tour like this. Just after the intermediate checkpoint there was some water on the road, which wasn't on the road during our recon ride. As a result, half the team crashed, including our leaders Primoz and Steven. At that moment it is all over for a good result and then you need to try to ride as well as possible to the finish. We have lost precious time. We will have to assess the damage and see how we will deal with it in the coming days and weeks. We certainly had not taken this scenario into account. We were a favourite and it would have been close if we hadn't crashed. Now we are forty seconds behind."
Engels is disappointed by that. “Whether the injuries aren't too bad or not, there is always damage. I have asked the organisation how this could have happened. They went to the house where the water came from. That is five hundred metres from the course, on a steep slope that goes straight onto the roundabout. There was a child playing in a inflatable plastic swimming pool that broke. As a result, according to the organisation, all of that water flooded down onto the road all of a sudden."