Gesink and Mosquera get all clear to continue

Injured GC contenders will start Avila stage

Crash victims Robert Gesink and Ezquiel Mosquera have been given the green light to start Thursday's 18th stage of the Vuelta a España, following medical assessment.

Rabobank rider Gesink sustained injuries to his left knee, his elbow, back and buttock in the fall, which saw a large group of riders hit the deck 126 kilometres after the start. Xacobeo Galicia's leader Mosquera also came down in the same incident, suffering a blow to his head. He said after the stage that he couldn't remember the moment of the crash.

The duo are second and sixth overall in the general classification, 31 seconds and one minute, 54 seconds back respectively from the maillot oro Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne).

The Rabobank team stated on the website on Wednesday evening that the Spaniard had caused the mass crash when he hit a pothole.

Team spokesman Luuc Eisenga initially said that Gesink and the team would not know if he could continue until after the hospital examination. However team doctor Gert Wielink later confirmed on the same website that he should be able to line up on Thursday.

"In principle, he'll ride," he said. "But we cannot absolutely predict how it will go. He is rock-hard, like all cyclists, and he will need that character."

Wielink said that Gesink will be given painkillers, and that he had two open wounds in his knee. "One was quite deep, and you could see the tendons. The other is quite superficial, but no less painful. He is missing skin there and the surrounding area is pretty sore."

Mosquera was given the all clear to continue in the race, and will hope to be at full strength for the next two days which feature the last mountain stages in the race. A strong performance there is crucial if he is to chase a place on the podium.

"I will continue in the Vuelta," he said to reporters on Wednesday evening. "I had a scan and it said that I have no serious injuries. I will get through the night and see how I feel tomorrow."

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