Italian suffers bloody nose, unsure of contesting final stage
Riccardo Riccò is uncertain for the final stage of the Tour of Austria, which he leads after being injured in the stage 7 time trial on Saturday. The Ceramica Flaminia rider plowed head first into a parked motorcycle during his time trial, but managed to finish despite bleeding profusely from a suspected broken nose.
The accident happened 17km into the 26.3 km time trial. Due to the heavy wind, Riccò, like the other riders, was riding on the right hand side of the street. He was apparently more focused on the overall win than on where he was, and crashed into the motorcycle, which was properly parked. He came away with injuries to his face and left leg, as well as a broken bike frame.
Riccò changed bikes and continue on, although his nose and knee were bleeding heavily. He finished 51st on the stage, 2:54 down, but still defended his overall lead.
He was immediately taken to the Eisenstadt hospital. It is not yet known whether he will be at the start of Sunday's final stage. His directeur sportif said, “Riccardo told me on the team bus: I want to win this Tour, if it all possible!”
The stage win went to Rabobank's Joost Posthuma, in a time of 30:47. Second was HTC-Columbia youngster Patrick Gretsch in 30.58. They were the only two to break the 31 minute barrier, as third placed Artem Ovechkin of Katusha was 46 seconds back.
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