As Dylan Groenewegen sprinted for victory in Scarborough on stage 1 of the Tour de Yorkshire, a scene of carnage played out behind him. A heavy fall by Orica-Scott's Magnus Cort caused a ripple effect that resulted in a huge pile-up just a few hundred metres from the line.
ONE Pro Cycling, Team Sky, Great Britain, Katusha, Madison Genesis and JLT Condor all had riders involved in the incident. Giro d'Italia contender Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) also came down, but the Dutchman was relatively lucky and escaped without any serious injury, as did most other riders.
The same couldn't be said for Cort, who broke his collarbone in the crash. Katusha's Marco Haller was the second rider to crash, going over the top of Cort, and also broke his collarbone, as did JLT Condor's Russ Downing. All three have been forced to abandon the race. A photo showed a clean break for Haller, who will have to undergo surgery to secure his injury. After the crash, riders were seen crossing the line on foot as they wheeled their bikes next to them.
Downing's brother, former rider, Dean tweeted a message that he had received from the JLT Condor rider, "just waiting for x-ray to come back, but probably won't be on the start line tomorrow it's grinding a bit."
The loss of Cort will be a blow to Orica-Scott, who took second place on stage 1 with Caleb Ewan coming close to beating Groenewegen in the sprint. Moments prior to the crash, the Dane had set up Ewan for the sprint and was a key rider for the team's sprint train.
"Obviously we are disappointed with how it finished today," directeur sportif Dave McPartland said. "It's a real shame and very unfortunate to lose Magnus, not only for this race, but also for the busy period ahead and we hope that he can make a full and speedy recovery.
"We didn't come here with a large squad, so we were already running a bit threadbare, but nevertheless the boys rode fantastically well all day."
Stage 2 of the Tour de Yorkshire will take the riders from Tadcaster to Harrogate.