On the first stage of Tirreno-Adriatico on Wednesday, a crash with 50 kilometres to go took a heavy toll on the peloton riding in Italy. A race motorbike touched Rabobank pro Grischa Niermann, who came to fall, making 15 of his colleagues also crash behind him.
"I was very lucky," said Niermann, who finally made it to the finish some 15 minutes behind the pack. "This could have ended quite differently! The road looked like a war field. My helmet broke three times. We were racing at 70 km/h when the bike hit me," he told Radsport-aktiv.
His Rabobank teammates Thomas Dekker and Michael Boogerd were also involved in the crash, but could continue straight away. Vladimir Efimkin (Caisse d´Epargne), as well as Irishman Nicholas Roche (Crédit Agricole) had to abandon the race. The 25 year-old Russian, who placed third in the Tour Meditterranéen a few weeks ago, was diagnosed with a broken collarbone in the hospital of Civitavecchia.