Kilometre 0 – A Giant struggle
April 21 | The Survivors of Spring
A Giant struggle
When a disoriented English tourist drove headlong into six Giant-Alpecin riders at their Spanish training camp in late January, thoughts turned first to saving lives rather than the team's season.
John Degenkolb, the winner of Milan-Sanremo & Paris-Roubaix in 2015, went into emergency surgery to save a finger. Warren Barguil had broken a wrist. Chad Haga's various fractures and lacerations had left him unrecognisable. Ramon Sinkeldam & Fredrik Ludvigsson had also been struck, while the young German sprinter, Max Walscheid, faced the longest lay-off of all due to a broken leg.
Suddenly without two of its star riders, Degenkolb & Barguil, the team seemed certain to struggle up to and through the Classics season - and so it proved. Gradually, wounds healed & riders returned, but Giant-Alpecin remained winless as the cobbled Classics ended with Mat Hayman inheriting the still recovering Degenkolb's Roubaix crown.
Daniel Friebe was there when the team launched its 2016 season in Berlin, amid fanfare & optimism, two weeks before the accident. Richard Moore was in Spain with them when it happened. Daniel then travelled to Sanremo in March to witness part of their rebuilding process, which continued when Richard interviewed Warren Barguil at the Tour of the Basque Country & Chad Haga at Flèche Wallonne.
In the third of our four KM0 Survivors of Spring episodes, The Cycling Podcast tells the redemptive story of a team coming back from the brink.