Tinkoff-Saxo‘s chances of setting a decent time during Sunday’s UCI World Championships team time trial were shattered when the squad’s Michael Valgren and Michael Rogers both crashed during the event.
Australian Rogers – himself a triple former individual time trial world champion – and Dane Valgren crashed off into the side of the road while they were travelling at around 60kmh. The incident occurred just before the second intermediate time check as Valgren touched wheels with a team-mate.
“We are all very disappointed after many days of perfect training and build-up,” said Tinkoff-Saxo sports director Sean Yates. “No one is blaming Valgren for the crash, as we all know that it’s something that can happen in these flat-out team time trials.
“We were approaching the second split time and Michael Valgren touched the wheel in front of him and that caused him to fall. Mick Rogers was on his wheel and they both hit the deck hard. They were moving at 60km/h so they naturally suffered a hard crash but nothing is, fortunately, broken.”
The crash spelt disaster for Tinkoff-Saxo’s hopes of a high placing, as the team were left with only three riders upright after their team had already been reduced from six to five riders.
Squads must finish with four riders, so they were forced to wait for Valgren and Rogers to dust themselves down and remount. Amazingly, the team finished – but in last place, eight minutes adrift of winners BMC Racing.
Tinkoff’s Peter Sagan escaped being caught up in the incident, which means he will enter Sunday’s men’s road race free of injury.
Not so lucky was Italian Elia Viviani of Team Sky, who crashed in training for the team time trial with Briton Luke Rowe and American Danny Pate. Despite their injuries, all three rode the TTT for Sky and finished ninth. Viviani, however, is now nursing a knee injury going into Sunday’s road race.
The 2015 UCI Road World Championships continue today (Monday) with the junior women’s and under-23 men’s individual time trials.