Chris Froome needed close to two hours to produce a urine sample at anti-doping after the stage 6 finish at Mount Etna, meaning he missed out on a place in the Team Sky helicopter transfer from the Sicilian volcano to their team hotel on the Italian mainland.
Cyclingnews understands that Team Sky hired the helicopter ride from race organiser RCS Sport, while UAE Team Emirates hired their own helicopter to fly Fabio Aru and several teammates to the mainland to avoid the long drive to Messina, and then the ferry.
Froome told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he stopped to take a natural break just 30km from the finish of the stage to Mount Etna. That left him struggling to produce enough urine for his sample.
Other riders and teams had to endure a long transfer to get to their hotels. Tom Dumoulin and Team Sunweb reportedly only crossed the Straight of Messina at 21:45 CET after one of the boats suffered an engine problem. Most teams then had to drive onto Reggio Calabria, with massage and evening meals prepared and served late at night. Mechanics and team staff worked long into the night to be ready for the flat road stage from Pizzo to Praia a Mare on Friday.
Visconti 'happy to be alive' after being hit by a team car
Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) described himself as ‘miracolato’ and happy to be alive after hitting a Groupama-FDJ team car while travelling at 60km/h during Thursday’s stage to Mount Etna.
The Sicilian finished second on the stage 5 to Santa Ninfa but finished stage 6 in a state of shock after the incident with 50km to race.
"We were going 60km/h. I’d been to get bottles and so was in the cars. The Groupama-FDJ car slammed on the brakes and I hit it full on. I could have gone through the rear window but I ended up flying in the air. It was scary, I got lucky," Visconti said.
"I’m not seriously injured but I've hurt all my left side. When I landed I hit my head and I didn't know where I was. I don't know why the car braked - perhaps they were distracted by something. I'm not angry with them and they stopped to apologise and check I was okay."
Carapaz shows his potential and takes white jersey
Richard Carapaz (Movistar) confirmed he will be a contender for the best young rider's white jersey and possibly even the overall classification with a strong ride on the finish to Mount Etna.
"I'm really, really happy with this result, it was a surprise to me too. It was a beautiful finish and to be able to keep up with the race contenders and pulling on this jersey, it was such a great day for me," Carapaz said.
Wilier Triestina suffer but stay united
The Wilier Triestina team fill the final six places on the overall classification of the Giro d’Italia after a testing stage to Mount Etna.
The Italian Professional Continental team stayed united to make sure sprinter Jakub Mareczko made it to the mountain finish within the time limit, and also escorted Eduardo Zardini to the finish after he crashed and fractured his collarbone while in the 28-rider break of the day.
Mareczko, Zardini, Alex Turrin, Eugert Zhupa, Jacopo Mosca, Marco Coledan, Liam Bertazzo and Giuseppe Fonzi finished together 26:26 down on stage winner Esteban Chaves. Only Boy van Poppel (Trek-Segafredo) finished further behind.
Six Wilier Triestina riders fill the final places in the overall classification, with Fonzi the lanterne rouge of the Giro d’Italia.
Zardini was in pain and struggled to hold his handlebars but wanted to finish the stage in the hope of staying in the Giro d’Italia. However post-stage x-rays confirmed the fracture, forcing him to quit the race.
The team posted a photo of the riders riding to the finish together, with Zardini being pushed by a teammate.
"This is a great picture. All the team helps Zardini to reach the finish with a broken collarbone. The meaning of teamwork," the team wrote on Twitter.