A again wheel puncture at precisely the fallacious second within the Clásica Jaén left main favorite Wout Van Aert stranded and – after preventing his misfortune enamel and nail – in the end defeated in Spain’s most sensible off-road tournament on Monday.
With round 53 kilometres to head at the beginning of probably the most 4 gravel sectors, the Visma-Hire A Motorbike chief discovered himself status at the aspect of the street, frantically converting tyres with teammate In keeping with Strand Hagenes at some extent the place staff vehicles have been nonetheless a ways in the back of.
With just about a minute misplaced, Van Aert then made a herculean all-out effort to regain touch with the principle peloton, which nonetheless contained teammates Sepp Kuss and Jan Tratnik.
However at some extent when the race used to be getting into its important ultimate segment, and the bunch used to be already racing flat out to chase down a deadly breakaway, the hassle proved an excessive amount of, and Van Aert finished the onerous, rainsoaked path because the closing of the 45 finishers, 6:36 down on winner Oier Lakzano (Movistar).
“The race used to be opening up simply because it all took place,” Van Aert advised a small crew of newshounds, together with Cyclingnews, on the end line in Úbeda whilst in the back of him, his teammate Tratnik walked onto the winner’s podium to have a good time his 3rd position.
“I will have waited to switch my motorcycle reasonably than exchange tyres, however that used to be my choice,” he mentioned. “I attempted to get again at the climb, however I noticed I may now not bridge throughout, and with Sepp as co-leader and within the entrance crew, I made up our minds to prevent.”
The flat tyre used to be of a kind, Van Aert mentioned, that made getting a alternative after which seeking to unravel the location as temporarily as imaginable the best choice at the desk.
“There used to be a big nail in my tyre,” he mentioned, “that’s the type of puncture you’ll be able to’t do a lot about.”
Van Aert mentioned that he did his utmost to regain touch, and such used to be his effort the space used to be squeezed to not up to 30 seconds at one level. Even supposing a lot of the race used to be technical and twisting, on one transient stretch of hetero freeway Van Aert’s crew may see the principle bunch dangling tantalizingly shut forward. However the distance proved unimaginable to bridge.
“There wasn’t a lot level in protecting Sepp and Jan ready. I attempted once more, but it surely did not paintings,” Van Aert mentioned. “I had Tim (van Dijke) with me for some time, and on that climb, I attempted to recover from. But if that did not paintings, I knew it used to be over.”
Despite the fact that Van Aert’s debut within the Clasica Jaén didn’t pass in any respect to plot, and a victory in a Spanish race nonetheless stays lacking from his bulging palmares because of this, the Belgian mentioned he did revel in himself at the gravel roads of jap Andalucia.
“It’s very similar to Strade Bianche,” he mentioned with a grin sooner than keeping off to the staff bus, a welcome bathe and an extended switch to Portugal and the Volta ao Algarve race, which begins on Wednesday. “It is a great race. I’d like to return again right here at some point and notice what I will be able to do subsequent time.”