Sacha Modolo's dream of winning Milan-San Remo fell with a hard thump today in Doha, Qatar. Doctors confirmed he fractured his scaphoid in his right wrist due to a crash in Tour of Qatar stage one.
"We came to these races [Qatar and Oman] specifically so that he could arrive on target for San Remo and to win," Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox co-manager, Bruno Reverberi told Cycling Weekly. "It's a shame what has happened."
Modolo placed second in a stage of the Tour of San Luis and the next day won, beating Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). The early season win gave him and the Italian second division team confidence.
Modolo dreams of returning to San Remo to win. In 2010, in his neo-pro year, he sprinted to fourth place behind Oscar Freire. Organiser RCS Sport largely selected Bardiani Valvole to race San Remo and the Giro d'Italia because of Modolo.
The team is now in a rush to get Modolo on a flight out of the Middle East. If doctors operate immediately, he can cut the number of days out of competition from 35 to 15 days.
"We are trying to get him on the first flight out of here to Venice, closest to his home," Reverberi said. "We are also in contact with a doctor in Brescia to see if he can operate so Sacha will return to racing sooner. With a small operation, the bone will heal quicker. Otherwise, he'll have to spend too much time off the bike."
Reverberi explained that Modolo could still race San Remo, but will be far from his best and lacking confidence. The idea is to get him back up to top speed for the Giro d'Italia.
The team was one of four wild cards - with Vini Fantini, Colombia and Androni Giocattoli - to be selected on January 8. Last year, Modolo placed fourth and fifth place in two different sprints behind Cavendish.
The windswept Qatari roads took him down yesterday. He hit a "Botts' Dot" (cat's eye) while drinking from his water bottle and crashed.
"I feel sorry for my team-mates, it was due to my distraction," Modolo said. "Now I have to recover quickly and re-programme the first part of my season."
His team-mates looked saddened as Reverberi spoke of their leader.
"It's a shame," Reverberi explained. "I also would've been upset if it happened to someone else, but we were counting on him to have results because he's fast and was going well."
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BMC win Tour of Qatar team time trial
By Richard Moore; Photos by Graham Watson
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BMC wins Tour of Qatar 2013, stage two TTT
Some specific training in the
south of Spain paid off for BMC as they raced to victory in the 14km
stage two team time trial in the Tour of Qatar five seconds ahead of
Team Sky and ten seconds quicker than Omega Pharma-Quick-Step.
Phinney was the powerhouse in the American squad but it was his
teammate and countryman, stage one winner Brent Bookwalter, who retained
the leader's golden jersey. Behind him, the general classification is
stacked with BMC riders, with Phinney second and Britain's Adam Blythe
third. Bernhard Eisel of Sky is 6th at 11 seconds.
out-and-back course on wide roads was not technical, but the strong wind
- headwind on the way out, tailwind back - made it challenging and
different teams adopted different approaches.
Geraint Thomas said
that Sky, who lost Chris Sutton and Gabriel Rasch relatively early,
perhaps went too hard in the first half. "We said we'd go hard from the
start, get down there as quick as we could and let the wind take us
back," said Thomas. "But from the last corner, on the way back, everyone
was a bit gassed and I think that's where we lost a bit of time. We
never got back on top of it."
It was telling that BMC retained all
eight riders until the final 1.5km. "Everyone in the group was
fantastic," said Steve Cummings, the other British rider on the team.
"It's the best team time trial I've ridden; we were really smooth as a
"We did a lot of work for this at our training camp in the
south of Spain with Max Sciandri and Allan Peiper, who's really helped
the team step forward," added Cummings.
Phinney will be most
people's favourite for the overall, though the wind is forecast to drop
in the coming days, which should favour the pure sprinters. Phinney said
he arrived in Qatar on the back of his best ever winter's preparation:
"I ended last season at a pretty high level and stayed on top of things
throughout the winter.
"I had a great, problem-free winter, which is something that I've never had over the past couple of years.
are just pretty confident as a team and we're riding well as a team,"
he continued. "The win by Brent [on stage one] was a bit of a surprise
for sure, but today was the main objective. To beat a team like Sky, who
have a strong classics unit here, is a good sign."
felt the team time trial drills in training were significant. "It was a
couple of days when we exclusively worked on the team time trial with
this group," he said. "It just so happened that where we were in Spain
it was even windier than it was today.
"I made sure to remind the
guys what we put into this. A lot of teams come here with a new
combination of riders and they work on their team time trial skills
maybe the day before or the day of the race, and we've been working on
it for weeks and really pinpointing this race."
As for the
overall, Phinney said: "You never know. Qatar is a strange race, you
never really know what can happen here. We are going to try to keep this
jersey on Brent's shoulders for as long as possible and Adam and I will
be up there in the sprints.
"If it were up to me, and if it were
up to Brent, I think we'd hope for some more windy stages. It doesn't
look like it's going to be that way, but even with a 10k side wind, you
can do some damage, especially out here in the desert."
Tour of Qatar 2013, stage two: Al Rufaa Street to Al Rufaa Street, 14km team time trial
1. BMC Racing in 16-07
2. Sky at 5 secs
3. Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 10 secs
4. RadioShack-Leopard at 11 secs
5. Katusha at 15 secs
6. Astana at 17 secs
7. FDJ at 23 secs
8. Orica-GreenEdge at 23 secs
9. Cannondale at 24 secs
10. Saxo-Tinkoff at 26 secs
11. Argos Shimano at 30 secs
12. Ag2r at 33 secs
13. NetApp-Enduar at 33 secs
14. IAM Cycling at 37 secs
15. Vacansoleil-DCM at 51 secs
16. Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 59 secs
17. Champion System at 1-16
18. Japan at 1-48
Overall classification after stage two
1. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing in 3-44-44
2. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing at 6 secs
3. Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing at 10 secs
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing at 10 secs
5. Michael Schar (Swi) BMC Racing at 10 secs
BMC, stage winners
Eddy Merckx congratulates race leader Brent Bookwalter
Tour of Qatar 2013: Related links
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Bookwalter wins stage one
Tour of Qatar 2013 stage one photo gallery
Tour of Qatar 2013: Preview and coverage index
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