Tour: Abandon for Ruigh, Westra and Larsson
Vacansoleil-DCM had a bad day in the Tour de France again. A week after Wout Poels had to leave the Tour with serious injuries, the Dutch World Tour team lost another three riders: Lieuwe Westra, Gustav Larsson and Rob Ruigh. They have had to drop out of the tour after suffering crashes in the last few days. They would not have been fit enough to ride in the peloton. Vacansoleil-DCM will continue with five riders in the Tour. After the three crashes Ive had in the first week, I couldnt go any further forward, explains Lieuwe Westra. ‘My hip isnt good. When I rode uphill, I didnt have any power. That isnt normal. In the time trial I noticed I couldnt ride uphill as I usually can. I dont feel sick, its because of the crashes I feel bad. Especially the first crash on Friday. At the roundabout, I fell on a wet road and landed badly on my hip, said Westra.
Physiotherapist Joost Lafeber confirms that the Frisian rider is at insufficient fitness levels to restore peak performance. ‘His upper leg is bruised and this leads to a lack of control of the muscles. Westra continues: It looks yellow and purple. At first, I couldnt even stand. Now its getting better but not enough to ride a good race. Normally, I can maintain with one good leg. However, I was driving uphill being passed by the sprinters. Then you know its really not good.
Rob Ruigh is upset about this situation. I had to ride in the front and normally I can. But I lack the power to compete with the best riders. Everyone knows that riding the Tour the France is difficult. But if you crashed at 78 kilometres per hour and then are riding the Tour, it becomes too difficult. Its like a handicap. You can see several riders are in trouble now, they were all involved in those crashes. I dont have power anymore in both of my legs, said Ruigh.
Rob would like to look forward to the rest of the season. The first few days, I have had to settle my thoughts. Its a big disappointment. I was in good shape and I came here with plenty of ambition and motivation. My wounds need to heal and I am being treated for them. I could manage half of the Tour. If I have recovered, I will train for the postseason and make new goals.