Arnaud de Lie did not enjoy his first day of racing in 2024. Halfway through the long Tour of Murcia, it seemed his altitude training had not caught up enough. And much worse: Florian Vermeersch (24 years old) suffered a serious fall while descending that shaft. Lotto Dstny's shadow leader broke his femur in the spring and has been out for months. Huge hit.
“I'm really looking forward to it. The three-week altitude training period at TED went well. I hope I can test myself on Monday in Jaén and get a good result, and in Murcia and Almeria we will play the Arno card. This match will be tough. It's a 1.1 level race “Only, but there are good teams and strong climbers at the start. We will try to guide Arnaud through the long climb and then lead him in the sprint.”
Florian Vermeersch said before the start of the Murcia round. His first race of the season started straight from Tenerife, where he completed a three-week hill training camp with team-mates Arnaud de Lee and Cédric Bullins to prepare for the classic cobblestone races.
Vermeersch absorbed altitude training better than his commander. In the Category 1 category, De Lie had to fit in halfway along the track, three kilometers from the summit.
Di Li: “I suddenly found myself sitting completely alone and had to get through. The legs were not exceptional, and if you look at the top ten results, you only see the climbers.
Sporting director Dirk Demol: “Arnaud had a bad day.”
Vermeersch escaped this choice. He crossed the top in the first twenty of the peloton. “Florian rode one hell of a climb,” Demol said.
When I saw Florian lying there, I immediately knew it was dangerous. He was lying alone in some bushes, groaning in pain. He had a lot of abrasions.
It now appears that this is Vermeersch's latest achievement for months. At the beginning of the descent, he fell and fell over the guardrail in the valley. “When I saw Florian lying there, I immediately knew it was serious. He was lying alone in some bushes, groaning in pain. He had a lot of abrasions. I sat with him for ten minutes, and he was completely shattered,” says Demol.
Di Li also saw his teammate. “Flo didn't look good. His face was beaten up. I quit after that. I don't feel like it anymore. . . .”
Vermeersch was rushed to Murcia Hospital, where an examination was performed on his upper leg, where he was experiencing the most pain.
look. De Lee: “It doesn't look good for Florian”
The harsh ruling came around six o'clock. Fractured hip. Vermeersch has been out for several months. Huge hit.
First of all, for Vermeersch himself. Second place in Paris-Roubaix 2021 led to a strong spring classic in 2023: 17th in Ghent-Wevelgem, 12th in the Tour of Flanders, and 12th in Paris-Roubaix. The consistency in his performance was amazing. In the fall he stood on the podium at the Renault Tour, the Super 8 Classic and the World Cup clay courts. Vermeersch plans to make a move this year. “I want to try to ride in the top eight in the cobbled Classics plus one great performance in addition to those consistent performances,” Vermeersch said during the team's presentation in January.
Demol is convinced he is there. “Florian was in really good form. I was convinced he would move on to the Classics. In the training camp he gave a very good impression, he was flying. His breakthrough was in the making.”
This hack will keep in the refrigerator for a year. Shame. Vermeersch has spent the past three weeks preparing for an altitude training camp in Tenerife. After his first day of racing, all that work turned out to be in vain. Father Noel, a mechanic at Lotto Dstny, was present in Murcia and helped his son. The blow was also very tough mentally. Vermeersch will undergo surgery this evening and will return to Herenthals Hospital on Sunday.
This is also a big negative factor for Lotto Dstny. “Florian was one com. keyplayer. We have good drivers, but the guy who finished second in Paris-Roubaix at the age of 22 is more than just a helper. Florian was Arnaud's first lieutenant and was very close to the commander. “This is a huge disappointment for us,” Demol said.
Commander De Lie also realizes the loss. “It's a big shame for Florian, but also for the team. Just like me, Florian was also a leader in the spring. We still have a good classic team, but we will miss him,” said De Lee, who will try to turn the tide in Almeria on Sunday, with Vermeersch in mind. “A lot and now we have to change our plans a little.”
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