The 2014 Tour de France runner-up Jean Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale) has crashed out of the Giro d'Italia after landing on his face in a spill some 100 kilometres from the finish of stage three.
The 38-year-old Frenchman was taking part in the Giro d'Italia for the first time in his career. He had ridden strongly in his key warm-up stage race, the Giro di Trentino, finishing ninth and was co-leading the AG2R La Mondiale team alongside Domenico Pozzovivo.
The crash took place as Peraud was in the main peloton, negotiating a roundabout close to the front of the bunch. His teammate seemed to touch the road with a pedal going through the roundabout and Peraud touched wheels and hit the ground hard with his face.
Information as to the full extent of his injuries are not clear. TV images showed Péraud with an injury in his head that appeared to be bleeding heavily but after spending several minutes standing on the side of the road, he got into an ambulance, that whisked him away from the race.
The official race website later confirmed that Peraud had quit. He is the first rider to abandon 2016 Giro d'Italia, leaving 197 in the peloton.
"Peraud suffered a traumatic brain injury without loss of consciousness, and lacerated wounds to his right orbit and cheekbone. He had to abandon the race and was taken by ambulance to the Zutphen hospital. The x-ray examination and CT-scan proved to be negative," read the post race medical bulletin communique.
This is not the first abandon through injury of a Grand Tour for Peraud. In 2013, he was forced out of the Tour de France after crashing twice, heavily, on the time trial stage at Embrun in the third week, once during the recon, and again during the stage. It will now be up to Pozzovivo to lead AG2R-La Mondiale for the rest of the Giro d'Italia.