Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Soudal) has said he is “sorry to hear” about Roompot rider Dylan Groenewegen suffered after the pair collided in the sprint finish of the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen on Friday.
Former Belgian national champion Debusschere took the victory on the 100th edition of the race, but was relegated soon after for an irregular sprint which saw him collide with Groenewegen, who hit the barriers on the side of the road and broke his knee.
Etixx – Quick Step’s Michal Golas was awarded the victory in the 192km race from Koolskamp, Belgium, as Debusschere has to settle for sixth place – the last position before a time gap to the riders behind.
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Debusschere quickly reacted on Twitter, blaming the Dutchman for the incident, but soon deleted the tweet saying: “Thx @GroenewegenD to f*ck up for both of us. I would feel sorry if I did something wrong but this is not the case. Anyway hope you are OK.”
As news of Groenewegen fractured patella emerged, Debusschere took to Twitter again, this time to offer his sympathy, as well as releasing a statement on the incident through his team.
“Of course I don’t feel good about this situation. The crash and consequences for Dylan are much worse than the victory I missed out on,” Debusschere said on Sunday.
“I wanted to let him and his team know that I didn’t want this, of course didn’t do this on purpose and didn’t have the intention to influence the sprint in any way.
“We shortly talked about the sprint of which I thought there wasn’t enough space to pass me by,” he added. “My reaction on Twitter shortly after the race was one of disappointment, but was wrong.”
“The decision of the jury is what it is. I really appreciate the way Michael and Dylan reacted. He is young and talented, I don’t want to have the reputation that I fight unfair to get results. No doubt we will meet very often in the future and I hope we can leave this behind us.”