Jumbo-Visma rue bad luck as they come out of Strade Bianche empty-handed

With Wout van Aert absent, Jumbo-Visma was relying on former winner Tiesj Benoot for a strong result at this weekend's Strade Bianche. The initial plan was ambitious and the team had the cards for it, but illness and crashes have took the Dutch team completely out of contention.

The day before the race had already started poorly as Tom Dumoulin tested positive for Covid-19 and could not take to the start. With six riders the team could still thrive, UAE Team Emirates were on paper the team that would benefit from strength in numbers but besides Pogacar the team was barely visible in the peloton. However it all came down when with 100 kilometers to go a freak crash took many riders down at the head of the peloton in a gravel sector, and saw Tiesj Benoot abandon.

“I felt like I was riding well. I managed to stay in front on the gravel sections. At the moment of the crash I was with the front of the bunch. I don’t think you can be much safer than that. Unfortunately, I could not avoid the two riders who crashed. A gust of wind made us all smash into the tarmac," Benoot said about the incident, in which strong gusts of wind took an Alpecin-Fenix rider down and consequently, many of the race favourites. "My condition was good, and I would have liked to take advantage of that today. For now, the important thing is recovering quickly. My back is hurting me at the moment, so it won’t be easy to sleep tonight. My left knee has an open wound and cannot be stitched up. I need to take it from day to day, see how I will recover, so hopefully I can set new goals for this spring as soon as possible.”

The team's best placed rider in the end was Sepp Kuss who finished 34th. The American was also caught up in that crash, and later on in the race reported to take another tumble which took him out of contention. As for Benoot, he is now set to miss Tirreno-Adriatico and is having his spring schedule changed, with the uncertainty over if he'll keep the form he had shown on the opening weekend.

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