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Crash under flamme rouge mars Giro d’Italia Donne sprint finish

Giro d'Italia Donne 2022 - 33rd Edition - 5th stage Capri - Reggioo Emilia 126,8 km 04/07/2022 - Emma Norsgaard (DEN - Movistar Team) - photo Massimo Fulgenzi/PMG Sport/SprintCyclingAgency©2022
Emma Norsgaard (Movistar Team) was involved in the crash on stage 5 and finished holding her right arm (Image credit: Massimo Fulgenzi/PMG Sport/SprintCyclingAgency)

Stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia Donne was relatively uneventful as a five-rider breakaway went up the road and was slowly but surely brought back by the sprinters’ teams. Then everyone got ready for a mass sprint for the finish. But a crash at the flamme rouge brought down several sprinters, who lost their chances of competing for the stage victory.

Movistar Team’s Emma Norsgaard was hit the hardest. Positioned behind Blanka Vas (Team SD Worx) and Silvia Zanardi (BePink), she had no chance to avoid the crash. 

Norsgaard crossed the finish line nursing her right arm and was taken to a medical centre as she complained of pain in her wrist and shoulder. X-rays showed no fractures, but a decision on whether the Danish sprinter will continue the race will only be taken on the morning of stage 6.

"After radiology checkups at a medical centre near the finish of stage five, no fractures to Emma Norsgaard's right arm have been confirmed. Her continuity in the race will depend on evolution over the next few hours, a decision not expected until Wed morning," Movistar posted to its Instagram feed late Tuesday.

Vas was the first rider to go down, causing a domino effect behind her. In the fast run-in, riders jostled for position, and just before the road narrowed slightly because of the barriers protecting the kilometre banner, a small movement by the eventual stage winner Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) caused Vas to lose her balance. This sent the Hungarian champion careening towards the barriers. Although Vas tried to save the situation by leaning on Arlenis Sierra (Movistar Team), it was too late.

Vas crashed into the barriers, and also going down were Zanardi, Norsgaard, Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), Martina Fidanza (Ceratizit-WNT), Letizia Borghesi (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB), Caroline Baur, Aline Seitz (both Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad), Tereza Neumanová (Liv Racing Xstra), Milagro Mena (Servetto-Makhymo-Beltrami TSA), Elena Cecchini (Team SD Worx), Alice Maria Arzuffi (Valcar-Travel & Service), and Inga Češulienė (Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-Vaiano).

Amalie Dideriksen (Trek-Segafredo) and Neve Bradbury (Canyon-SRAM) just managed to stay upright but had to come to a complete stop. All the riders got up again and could finish the race, and most of them got away with no or only light injuries.

“The crash in the finale didn’t distract me from the sprint, but I got worried when I didn’t immediately see Elisa in the first group. I heard on the radio that she had crashed. After, seeing her cross the finish line was a huge relief. She seems to be okay, and I hope it is the same for all the others involved,” stage winner Balsamo said.

Vas suffered some bruises and abrasions while Baur hit her head in the crash. Both will be able to start stage 6 according to team statements.

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Lukas Knöfler started working in cycling communications in 2013 and has seen the inside of the scene from many angles. Having worked as press officer for teams and races and written for several online and print publications, he has been Cyclingnews’ Women’s WorldTour correspondent since 2018.