Orica-GreenEdge down to five men
After outstanding success in the first half of the Giro d'Italia, luck seems to have run out for the Orica-GreenEdge team, which is down to only five riders after today's abandon of Luke Durbridge.
The Australian crashed during the 249km stage 11 from Collecchio to Savona, out with a confirmed broken collarbone. Durbridge will undergo surgery to repair the break in Girona on Friday.
The abandon of Durbridge follows that of his teammate Michael Matthews, who declined to start the stage in the morning due to lingering injuries from a crash sustained over the weekend on stage 9, after he had relinquished his maglia rosa, which he held for six stages. They've also lost Brett Lancaster and Cameron Meyer.
"It’s obviously very disappointing for Durbo to break his collarbone the day before the time trial," directeur sportif Matt White said. "He was in the front group over the climb – not the breakaway group but the main bunch in the peloton. It’s clear he recovered well from illness. He was ready for tomorrow."
The crash also took down another time trial favorite, Adriano Malori (Movistar), but the Italian soldiered on to finish the stage despite sporting a thick layer of mud and being without a portion of the skin on the right side of his body.
Durbridge still could have a chance to rebound in time for the Tour de France. White was not ruling him out even with the broken bone.
"If this happened in two weeks, he would lose his slot. That’s the positive we can take out of it. It’s six weeks Saturday until the Tour. A week off the bike after what he’s done here in the Giro isn’t going to do anything to his condition. He’ll have five weeks of preparation, and my money is on him being ready."
The team will not be putting pressure on the first leader of this Giro d'Italia, Svein Tuft, for the time trial on stage 12. The Canadian is also suffering from some crash injuries.
"Svein Tuft had hoped to target tomorrow’s individual time trial, but his injuries from his crash on stage four have not sufficiently healed. It would be counter-productive to his recovery for him to push so hard. With both Svein and Durbo out of the time trial, the stage will be a low key one for us."
After leading the Giro d'Italia for the first seven stages and winning three, the team is left only with Tuft, Ivan Santaromita, Mitchell Docker, Michael Hepburn and stage 9 winner Pieter Weening in the race.
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