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Dear Matteo Jorgenson: You don’t need to apologize for winning after Wout van Aert crashed

Dear Matteo Jorgenson: You don’t need to apologize for winning after Wout van Aert crashed

Dwars door Vlaanderen winner Matteo Jorgenson took to social media to explain why he continued to race after his Visma-Lease a Bike teammate Wout van Aert crashed hard and abandoned the race. But he didn’t need to apologize or explain his actions.

During the second-last race in Flanders Week, the day was ruined by a huge crash. It happened with 67 km to go and injured the Belgian superstar. Jasper Stuyven, Biniam Girmay and Mads Pedersen also went down.

Plans changed quickly

Jorgenson, unaffected by the spill, carried on doing what he does for a living: be a professional bike racer whose job is to win bike races.

“So about yesterday…I really want to wish everyone that went down the best in their individual recoveries. However long and arduous they may be,” he posted on X. “It was a big relief to get news after the finish that no one was in critical condition. Having seen the crash first hand I imagined a far worse outcome.”

Criticism online

He then said he wanted to respond to some of the criticism he received for continuing to race afterwards.

“After a few seconds of shock having barely escaped myself, I tried as hard as I could to bring myself out of it. As we got onto the foot of the Kanarieberg I felt some responsibility to honour what has gone into this,” he explained.

“The sheer man-hours, planning, late nights and early mornings put in by our staff. And of course all the teammates that had spent 150km dying in the wind to bring us there in the front. Why would I let all of that go to waste? We already lost our leader,” the American said. “Our strongest rider and the heart of our classics team, should we then just throw in the towel?”

A tough sport for tough people

Bike racing can be beautiful and cruel. As van Aert knows, as a seasoned professional, the best laid plans…can quickly go south. He had been basing his entire season on the Classics. And in an instant, it’s ruined. Van aert hasn’t commented yet, but almost certainly he would be the first to congratulate his teammate. He’d commend him for putting his head down and continuing the fight.

Team releases news about Wout van Aert’s injuries and effects on Classic season

“I am proud of how Tiejs Bennoot and I continued to fight. And I hope we honored the display that Wout van Aert was planning to put on,” he concluded. Anyway, see you all Sunday where all of Visma – Lease a Bike will try to do him proud.”

The show goes on

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