Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) will not start stage seven of the Giro d'Italia after it was confirmed that the Spaniard had sustained a broken rib and thumb in the mass-pile up on stage 6 to Montecassino. The climber also confirmed that he had been recovering from two broken ribs picked up in last month's Amstel Gold Race.
Rodriguez lost over eight minutes on the road to Montecassino due to the fall which also saw his Katusha teammates Giampaolo Caruso and Angel Vicioso abandon. Rodriguez managed to reach the finish line but further diagnosis at revealed the extent of his injuries. He is the second high-profile GC contender to quit the race after Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) crashed out in Belfast.
"It hurts to leave the Giro, but there is no other option," Joaquím Rodríguez said in a team press release.
"The crashes were bad for all of us. The road was very slippery and we were going at 60km/h. Just touching your brakes was enough to crash. But that is a risk we always take. It is part of our job to try to be in the front to fight for the victory. I really cannot blame the organization or the local roads. After the crash I got back on my bike immediately, more full of aggression and determination, but after a while I clearly felt what the problem was, as I could not breath anymore," the statement read.
Amstel Gold injuries
Rodriguez, second in the Giro d’Italia in 2012 and third in last year’s Tour de France came into this year's race as a genuine contender for overall victory. He crashed heavily in the Amstel Gold Race last month but worked hard on regaining his fitness and form. Although he and his team lost time in the opening team time trial in Belfast Rodriguez bounced back with seventh on stage 5 to Viggiano.
"I have to say that before the Giro I already had two broken ribs (numbers 9 and 10) because of my crash in the Amstel Gold race. We did not want to talk about it as we were afraid that our competitors would attack me in the first Giro days, but now I have broken another rib (number 8), as well as my thumb," Rodriguez confirmed.
"There is no other option than to stop. After the Amstel I suffered so much and I worked so hard to arrive in top condition at the Giro. It was already a hard task to do it after my earlier rib fractures. The start of the Giro was not so good for me. I suffered a lot in the team time trial. It was my first effort after Liège. Yesterday I felt that everything went better. I am so disappointed now, especially after our team performance yesterday to Viggiano. All our nine riders were so ready for this race."
Katusha confirmed that Vicioso suffered a threefold complex right femur fracture in the same crash. He will undergo surgery in Rome.