The first road stage of the Giro d'Italia saw the first crashes of the race, with numerous riders going down hard and finishing the stage with some nasty road rash.
The crashes caused several splits in the peloton, forcing the Cannondale-Garmin and Ag2r-La Mondiale teams to chase for team leaders Ryder Hesjedal and Domenico Pozzovivo. Hesjedal made back into the peloton and did not lose time but Pozzovivo lost 1:09 and slipped to 1:57 down in the overall.
Several riders were left with their shorts and jerseys in tatters after the crashes. Pieter Serry (Etixx-QuickStep) was the worst off. He apparently hit his head and thought he had fractured his collarbone, and was forced to quit the Giro d’Italia. He had only recently returned to racing after fracturing his collarbone at the Volta a Catalunya.
The team later announced that examinations found no fractures. "After the crash during the kilometers I was trying to ride I had terrible pain and couldn't hold my handlebar with my right arm," Serry said. "I leave this Giro really sad, but the only thing to do now is my best to come back as soon as possible, find my shape again, and be useful for the team for the next part of the season. I wish my teammates all the best."
Other riders finished but were clearly in pain. Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) had serious road rash on his rear, while Darwin Atapuma (BMC) and Dayer Quintana (Movistar) landed on their sides. It was a tough first day of road racing.
Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF), Australia’s Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEdge), Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Simone Stortoni (Androni Giocattoli) and Jerome Pineau (IAM Cycling) all went down too.
Australian national champion Heinrich Haussler crashed twice in the finale, finishing the stage 11 minutes after Elia Viviani (Team Sky) sprinted to victory. He limped up the steps of the IAM Cycling team bus but counted himself lucky, only suffering abrasions.
"I’m okay, I’m just pissed off I crashed…" Haussler told Cyclingnews. "It’s the first stage of a Grand Tour, everyone is fresh and it gets hectic for the sprinting. That’s the way it is."
"I crashed twice. The first time we were moving up as a team and there was a wave in the bunch. I’m not blaming anyone but we got moved over. Pretty much all the team went down because we were all moving up. The second time, I was caught up in the big crash with a few kilometres to go. At least nothing is broken, that’s the main thing. We live to fight another day, even if twenty guys are going to be in pain tomorrow during the third stage. That’s racing too."
Experienced race doctor Dr. Giovanni Tredici gathered the numbers of injuries for the daily medical bulletin. Several riders visited his mobile x-ray and medical unit near the team buses for treatment. The mobile unit allows them to avoid going to ER units in Italian hospitals and waiting several hours for treatment.
Dr. Tredici told Cyclingnews that x-rays ruled out a wrist fracture Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF) but Sylvester Szymd (CCC Sprandi) needed five stitches in a cut on his upper arm. Other riders were treated for road rash either by the race medical staff or their team doctors.
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