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Daniele Bennati (Leopard Trek)
Stage 1 crash ruins Italian's Giro d'Italia plans
The Italian crashed hard early in the stage from Martigny to Leysin, breaking four ribs and fracturing his clavicle in several places - a break which will require surgery to repair.
The team announced today he would be out of competition from four to six weeks.
"This is bad news as is any crash," said Team Manager Kim Andersen. "But this one is particularly bad news for us because Daniele was in great shape, and he would have been our main card to play in the Giro d'Italia for stage wins. He was really looking forward to the race."
Bennati has shown fine form this season, taking second in Gent-Wevelgem and winning three stages of the Circuit de la Sarthe.
The team was intending to focus on stage wins with Bennati as its goal for the Giro, but will now have to come up with a new strategy for the race, which starts on May 7.
"We still have to determine how to reshape the roster for the Giro now that Daniele is out," said Andersen. "I'm confident that we will find a way to turn this misfortune into an opportunity to approach the stages in a different way. We have no other choice"