Team Sky said that poor positioning and bad luck were to blame as they missed out at Ghent-Wevelgem, with only four riders finishing the race.
The British team endured a tough day in Flanders, as first Luke Rowe was dropped from the front group, Gianni Moscon was brought down in a crash, and Ian Stannard missed the crucial move as Greg Van Avermaet attacked on the Kemmelberg.
“Ian felt good in the front group, but it was the case where he wasn’t in the best position towards the Kemmelberg,” Knaven told TeamSky.com, “then he was unable to make it across into the front group which was a shame.
“Gianni [Moscon] was trying to move him up but then he went down. Ian was just behind and was able to narrowly avoid the crash but he was on his own after that which is not an easy position.”
Stannard ended up coming home in 21st place, while Moscon crossed the line in 115th and last place, with team staff on hand to help the bloodied Italian off his bike and limp onto the team bus.
Expected to be a key domestique for Stannard and Rowe at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, the team said that they would assess Moscon’s injuries, but were hopeful that they would amount to nothing more than road rash and bruises.