Froome crashes for the second time in 2018 Giro d'Italia

Briton falls on uphill finish to Montevergine but gets back on

Chris Froome's challenging start to the 2018 Giro d'Italia showed no sign of relenting on Saturday as the Team Sky leader fell during the fast uphill finish at Montevergine di Mercogliano.

Although a minor crash, it is the second for Froome in this year's race after he fell heavily before the Giro began in Israel eight days ago.

With gradients of five percent or less for most of the final 15-kilometre second category ascent, the climb was taken at speed. Close to the summit, as the pace was picking up further, the Briton's front wheel appeared to go out from under him on a sharp right-hand corner, causing him to fall.

His jersey grimy from the wet tarmac, Froome quickly remounted and was guided back into the peloton by his teammates. He crossed the line in 22nd place, and although Richard Carapaz's (Movistar Team) solo victory means he has pushed Froome down to ninth place overall, Froome's overall time loss remains unchanged at 1:10 behind race leader Simon Yates.

"He was able to get back on the group quickly, we knew it was a fast climb and that it was going to be important to avoid gaps," Matteo Tosatto, the one Sky director to stop and talk briefly to the small group of reporters outside the bus at the foot of the climb, said afterwards. "They [the favourites] all arrived together, a pretty big group of 20.

"I heard over the radio, 'caduta di Froome'. [Froome has fallen]. He didn't say anything over the radio, but his teammates waited and put him right back in position. He didn't have mechanical problems, which was important for not losing much time. We saw him after the finish, he put on his jacket to stay warm and seemed OK and didn't have any complaints."

Like all the Team Sky riders - and probably most in the peloton after such rough weather - Froome went straight onto the team bus at the foot of the Montevergine climb as soon as he reached it after riding back down the climb without talking to reporters. Draped in wet weather gear, the one visible injury, probably as a result of his crash, was one very small cut in his right knee, although TV coverage in the final kilometre showed he had also scraped his elbow.

The Briton did not re-emerge for his usual warm-down, although the poor weather and length of the stage, over 200 kilometres, could easily explain this break from his normal post-race routine.

Tosatto explained that Sky had gone to the front after the crash, with David de la Cruz leading Froome because "it was better to be up there with all the curves and changes in pace.

"His handlebar was turned a bit, and he didn't have time to fix it. So we were up there just to have a bit more safety."

Although Tosatto said that Froome seemed to be OK. "He didn't need that crash today. We can't look too far ahead, we're going day by day, but we are sure Chris is going to be OK."

Tosatto played down the importance of Sunday's much harder Gran Sasso stage, arguing that it will be "a photocopy of today's [race], but let's see. We know that there won't be big gaps. The race will be in the third week."

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