Ronde van Vlaanderen: The Other Side of the Story4. April 2016, Roeselare BEL) — Road Team
It’s pretty cliché to say that out of tragedy comes triumph but when we look back at Ronde van Vlaanderen, the crash that took out half of our team isn’t the only story we can tell.
Daniel Oss, Jempy Drucker, Taylor Phinney and Stefan Küng all battled on to cross the finish line in Oudenaarde and each of these four riders has a story to tell. Daniel and Jempy showed, as they did at E3 Harelbeke, that they can step up as leaders when they least expect it, coming home to finish in the top 20. Stefan raced Ronde van Vlaanderen for the first time and finished, an achievement in itself, particularly when you look at the fact that he raced for the first time this year less than two weeks ago. And for Taylor, Ronde van Vlaanderen marks a personal milestone; his first Monument in two years that even he doubted he could race if you’d asked him last month. All four riders share their Ronde van Vlaanderen experience after the crash that shook things up for BMC Racing Team.
“Of course when you see something like that happen, you feel terrible. It’s the worst possible thing for a team to lose their leader. Before the crash we were feeling good, we had the race under control, but after the crash we still had to focus on the race.“
“When Taylor was bringing me back into the bunch after the crash, I was just thinking in my head that we have to organize a new race, a new goal. We were left with only half a team but Jempy and I were going to be the last guys for Greg. So our goal was to try and arrive at the finish in the best place possible. We had to try and conserve more energy because suddenly you are not thinking about working for your leader, but trying to be the leader.”
“We tried to anticipate what the other big riders would do and then on the last time on the Kwaremont, the race really exploded. It was a disappointing end to the race but in the end we made it to the finish and Jempy and I were still in a good position. We’ll be back for Paris-Roubaix and hopefully we can be aggressive.”
"You could see that it was a serious crash and then I was listening to the radio to get some information but it was quiet for a long time. Then we got the bad news that a lot of the guys were out, and that Daniel and Taylor were on their way back."
"Fabio said to Daniel and I that we should try in the final. Honestly I found it difficult to transition from being a big helper for Greg to racing for my own result. To do that switch and think about getting a result during the race after already using a lot of energy isn’t easy. When we got to the Kwaremont for the second time I said now it’s the moment and you have to flick the switch and go for it or help Daniel and fight for a good result."
"The plan was for Daniel and I to be with Greg as long as possible to support him in the final, so for Daniel and I to be up there in the final is good for the team. I think if Greg had been there we could have raced more aggressively. It gives me confidence that I can show that I can still be up there when the team needs me."
" Paris-Roubaix is a special race and without Greg now it will be different but it’s a race where anything can happen."
"Where the crash happened it was a bit of an easy phase and that’s why we were towards the back of the bunch. Jempy and I were just off to the left of the other guys so we weren’t caught up in it. It is a real shock when your leader and other teammates go down so hard. I saw the crash straight away and saw them flying over their bikes."
"We only had a plan A. We didn’t have a plan B. We were all focused on giving everything for Greg and then the crash happened and we heard that the four guys were out. We were only four guys left so we tried to position Daniel and Jempy as best as possible, but it all fell to pieces from there."
"It was my second big Classic and my first time racing Ronde van Vlaanderen. It’s pretty special racing 260km. You can’t really kind of train for this, you just need to get it done over and over again but you get stronger. For sure, I’m looking forward to Paris-Roubaix, it’s my favourite race. With Greg out and maybe some of the other guys who crashed, we will see what the plan will be. But now the focus is on recovery and licking any wounds that we have. We will be back on the start line fully motivated for Paris-Roubaix."
"I picked my bike up and looked at Greg and Michi who were clearly not in the best of shape and I put my bike together and was just waiting in case Greg was going to get back up. Fabio sensed the difficulty of the situation so told me to get back on my bike and go back into the group. I did a big effort to bring Daniel back through the cars into the bunch. I was definitely struggling after the first half of the race and then with the crash and the chase back, I was spent."
"It was so intense with the crash and then losing your leader that you’re not really in the frame of mind or capable of thinking about your next move. I was just trying to save as much energy as I could so that I could help Daniel and Jempy."
"It rattled everybody from the team. I was thankful that I didn’t hurt myself and that I was able to finish. It’s such a brutal race and not something that I thought I was capable of doing a few weeks ago. For me personally, it was a big milestone, just the fact that I could even finish a race like that. Yesterday I obviously went into it thinking that I was not only going into it to finish but to play a role in helping Greg in the final."
"We have Paris-Roubaix this weekend and I think Ronde van Vlaanderen was a good effort to bump me up another level for that and hopefully we can still be up there. Paris-Roubaix is a totally different race but right now I’m just trying to recover from the Ronde van Vlaanderen hangover."