Injury problems pile up for Saunier

One of just three ProTour teams still without a win of any kind this season, Saunier Duval are doing

One of just three ProTour teams still without a win of any kind this season, Saunier Duval are doing

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM

One of just three teams that have not won a race so far this season - the others are Euskaltel and, rather surprisingly, Liquigas - Saunier Duval are wondering what they might have done to deserve all the bad luck that currently seems to be running their way. Not only are they not winning, but no less than 10 of their riders are out of action due to injuries or other problems.

"Rather than worrying about winning a race, I'm more concerned with the number of people we've got injured," team manager Joxean Matxin told El Diario Vasco. Injuries, said Matxin, were the main reason Saunier had failed to compete at the level they would have hoped for so far this season.

By this point last year the team had also failed to bag a win, but, said Matxin, "we had had an impact in the majority of races we had taken part in. We had been protagonists. Last year our first win did not come until the Tour of Catalonia [in May], but the difference is that we had, as I said, been protagonists."

He did praise the performances of young sprinters Francisco Ventoso and Riccardo Ricco, who have five podium finishes between them this year, but pointed out that it was difficult to compete when, for example, you only take two of the eight riders you had planned on starting Paris-Nice. "I had to call up six I hadn't planned on, and I didn't want to change the programmes of [team leaders] Koldo Gil, Jos Angel Gomez Marchante or Gilberto Simoni."

Saunier's current list of sidelined riders reads as follows:

Alberto Benitez: Tendinitis in his knee
Charles Dionne: Sciatica
Peter Mazur: Knee problems
Ruben Lobato: Knee problems due to weight training
Carlos Zarate: Persistent virus
David Millar: Banned until June
Nicolas Fritsch: Measles
Manuele Mori: Broke wrist at Tour of Valencia
David Ca¤ada: Broken wrist
David de la Fuente: Asthma

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