Just 24 hours after his spectacular mountaintop win in the Giro d’Italia, Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) suffered a bad crash four kilometres from the finish line of stage 5 and headed for hospital in an ambulance minutes after completing the stage.
With multiple crashes affecting the peloton in the finale, Dombrowski suffered a major fall some four kilometres from the finish in Cattolica that left the American spread-eagled on the road. He was widely reported to have collided with a race marshal, although this had yet to be confirmed by the rider himself or the team.
Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) was also caught up in the same crash, seriously injured and forced to abandon, while French rider Francois Bidard (AG2R Citroën) also fell and has a broken left collarbone, his team said later.
Previously second overall and just 22 seconds off the overall lead, Dombrowski could finish the last segment of the stage through the coastal town of Cattolica, riding slowly ahead of a team car. But by this point he was far back from the main peloton, and he crossed the line in 180th place and third to last. He was then whisked away in an ambulance waiting for him on the finish line for a medical checkup at a nearby hospital.
UAE Team Emirates provided an update later that the rider had not suffered fractures from his heavy fall, but was suffering from a “likely concussion.” The 29-year-old American will be tested later on Wednesday night and again in the morning, the team said, and, “We will then be able to determine fitness to continue.”
Dombrowski’s major setback came just hours after the greatest triumph of his career on stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia at Sestola. Part of an early breakaway, the American had dropped Italy’s Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation) close to the summit of the day’s final climb before soloing away to the finish for his first-ever WorldTour win and the lead in the King of the Mountains competition.
Dombrowski, who celebrated his 30th birthday on Wednesday, was still atop the King of the Mountains competition at the end of the day, as he had not had to defend his lead as the stage since it did not provide any classified climbs. Wednesday morning in Modena, he had attended his media obligations and gone onto the sign-on to wave at the crowds. However, after his bad crash, the the American’s future in the Giro now hangs in the balance.
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 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. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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