AG2R-La Mondiale rider Oliver Naesen has bemoaned his bad luck after a crash ruined his chances of winning the Tour of Flanders this past weekend.
The Belgian champion has endured a tough time in the Classics, with his very participation at ‘De Ronde’ in doubt after he had a crash last week at Dwars door Vlaanderen. He also suffered in a pile-up at the E3 Harelbeke and a broken nose at the Ruta del Sol.
On Sunday he was brought down in a big crash on the approach to the Muur van Geraardsbergen.
"It's very frustrating. It just doesn't seem to stop," Naesen told Cyclingnews. "You know, the first crash is always okay, it's part of the game, but like now it's the sixth one, it starts to become a little bit too much for me."
The crash set Naesen back in the race and although he managed to catch up to the peloton, he eventually had to settle for 11th place.
"I didn't know if I would get back, but I said to myself for sure I will finish the race," said Naesen.
"I just went from group to group, and obviously you fall into groups with helpers of other leaders, and it's normal that they don't help me to get back. I think I had to pull like 15 kilometres alone. That's actually my finale I used up there. I felt it at the end – I was really really smashed.
"I didn't have the luxury to play tactics anymore. Unfortunately, I was totally smashed, and all I could do was try to hang on. I was empty empty empty at the finish."