By Monika Prell
Euskaltel Euskadi was having good Giro until Wednesday. Every day Koldo Fernández de Larrea has been coming closer to a stage win. He's finished 13th, 10th, fifth and seventh in the massive sprints ending stages. And Dionisio Galparsoro logged some finishes to satisfy this team including 20th, 23rd, 25th, and fifth.
But in the terrible crash at the finish line, Euskaltel almost lost all its hopes. Young Aitor Hernández, winner of the mountain classification of the Vuelta al País Vasco 2007, broke his left collarbone and was taken to the hospital. Galparsoro also crashed, hitting the ground with his back while Joseba Zubeldia suffered various contusions in that same crash.
"Too bad, it's incredible!" said Director Jon Odriozola. "We are not lucky. Today, the entire team worked very well for Koldo until the end. Aketza [Peña], Joseba [Zubeldia], Aitor [Hernández] and Dioni [Galparsoro] worked to position Koldo [Fernández] well going into the final kilometer, where it's Koldo's business to struggle against the others. Today, he finished seventh, a satisfying result. The most important thing is that he is stable, that he gets used to being there, and that he is constantly in the finishes." Odriozola showed himself generally content with the young sprinter.
But then the accident happened. "The ground was slippery due to the rain and, mainly, for the finish markings. [Nikolai] Trusov, who finished 13th, crashed and so did all the others in a cascade. We had a lot of riders in front and we could not avoid the falls."
Odriozola lamented, "Aitor Hernández broke his collarbone, now, when the optimal terrain for him begins. I [have] watched the classification and saw that he finished the stage in 18th; he was in the front group, but Dioni, who could make a good overall rank, injured his back. We will have to see how he recuperates for tomorrow.
"And Joseba suffers a lot of contusions. Let's add that Antton [Luengo] also crashed when the race had hardly begun and that [Iván] Velasco also suffers pain," finished the Sport director."