Steven Kruijswijk knew he had lost the Giro d'Italia pink leader's jersey when he crossed the finish line in Risoul and virtually threw in the towel, admitting his hopes of victory were over after crashing at the start of the decent of the Coll dell'Agnello. He finished 4:54 down on stage winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and 4:01 behind Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge), who pulled on the maglia rosa.
Kruijswijk slipped to third overall at 1:05 and admitted he had lost his chance to become the first ever Dutch winner of the Giro d'Italia.
Kruijswijk was in pain after crossing the finish line and was pushed up the road by two members of his LottoNL-Jumbo team. He seemed desperate to get off his bike and end his pain but was surrounded by photographers, cameraman and journalists. He first headed to a nearby team van but then opted to ride up through the French ski resort to his hotel. It was positioned at the very top of the village, however, and so he faced another painful kilometre before finally climbing off his bike and entering his hotel room to have treatment on the injuries he sustained in the high-speed crash at the start of the descent of the Coll dell'Agnello.
He stopped briefly during his final kilometre to speak about his bad day. He was both angry and defeated.
"I've lost the Giro. I've f*cked up everything," he said in Dutch to the media that followed him to the hotel, including Cyclingnews.
"It was a stupid mistake on the descent. I just screwed up. I was at my limit at the top and wanted to eat and drink something. I was following the others but made a mistake and ended up in the snow bank.
"The crash wasn't too bad but my bike was a mess and I couldn't ride on with it. I lost contact with the leaders, and when it's like that, you know it's all over."
Kruijswijk had a nasty cut on his left elbow and on his right leg after hitting a wall of snow and flying over his bike and doing a summersault. After recovering in his hotel for 30 minutes or so, he was taken to Briancon hospital for more detailed checks and x-rays on his injuries.
"I can feel that I've hurt my ribs and my back. After the finish I was really hurting," he said. "My morale is broken. I tried to give it everything but my body hurts like hell and so it's all over."
In truth, Kruijswijk put up a brave fight and only slipped to third overall, with Saturday's final mountain stage to Sant'Anna di Vinadio still to race.
"Yeah but I've lost the Giro here," he said.