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Harper’s exit puts strain on Team Jumbo-Visma in Britain

Harper’s exit puts strain on Team Jumbo-Visma in Britain

Chris Harper has crashed in the first kilometres of the second stage of the Tour of Britain. It meant the end of the stage race for the unfortunate Australian. A hard blow, especially with regards to tomorrow’s team time trial. Wout van Aert lost the leader’s jersey to stage winner Carpenter the day after his victory in the opening stage.

Five riders broke away early in the stage to Exeter and took a maximum lead of almost eight minutes. Team Jumbo-Visma wanted to control the race, but got little help from the other teams on the hilly and sometimes steep British roads. Van Aert crossed the line together with George Bennett and Pascal Eenkhoorn in the depleted peloton.

“It’s a shame that Chris crashed out of the race today”, sports director Frans Maassen said. “The plan was to create a good starting position for the team time trial tomorrow. Due to the loss of Chris that plan is more or less out the window. The result today is fine, but we had to do more work than planned and hoped for.”

"So it is even more disappointing that Chris is no longer riding."

Frans Maassen

For the team, the team time trial was an important day in the Tour of Britain. “After tomorrow we have to see what we can do with Wout in the general classification. A good team time trial is crucial for a good classification. So it is even more disappointing that Chris is no longer riding. Tomorrow we really wanted to show ourselves. The changes we had to make earlier were already not in our favour. We’ll have to see how far we get with five motivated riders in the team.”

According to Maassen, Van Aert had not set his sights on sprinting today. “Before this race we talked with Wout to choose the days to show himself. That perhaps led to a little more unrest in the peloton. Everyone was looking at us and we couldn’t and didn’t want to do it alone. That’s racing. Wout has to leave this race with a good feeling and he made a good start yesterday.”

Harper had his elbow stitched up in hospital and, under the circumstances, is doing well.

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