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Bernal crashes out of Volta a Catalunya

Egan Bernal's superb Volta a Catalunya came to a dramatic halt on Sunday during the finale stage 7 as the young Colombian racer skidded and fell within sight of what would have been the biggest result of his career to date - second overall behind eventual winner Alejandro Valverde.

Bernal fell heavily at speed, six kilometres from the finish line in Montjuic Park on a sweeping downhill left hand bend. The Volta website reported that Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) and Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) were also caught up in the crash, although both could finish the stage.

Team Sky staff in the following car behind quickly stopped and rushed to his aid. The young Colombian was taken to hospital in Barcelona in an ambulance. The extent of his injuries are unknown.

A technical, fast, urban circuit looping through a central Barcelona park that is used every year in the Volta a Catalunya for the final stage, Montjuic has seen its fair share crashes in the past.

A few years back, Chris Froome crashed on the last day of the race, although he only suffered minor injuries. Unconfirmed reports said that two TV motorbikes also crashed in the same corner of the circuit on Sunday.

"I saw it all happen, right in front of me," race leader Valverde recounted later.  "Today the roads were very slippy and dangerous and the crash was a lot of dirt on the road.

"Rojas' wheel went under him, Bernal braked and braked as hard as he could, and then he went flying, right over the road.

"It's a real pity, he was doing brilliantly and really trying to stay up there.

"It just goes to show you can never be sure of anything until you cross the final finish line."

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.