There was little doubt Jos van Emden’s Giro d’Italia was over after the mass crash on the causeway just outside the start town of stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia, with the Jumbo-Visma rider on the ground and clearly suffering as the camera panned over the aftermath. Beneath his shredded jersey and several abrasions, the team said the rider had suffered from five broken ribs and a lung contusion.
“For us it was not the best stage today,” said sports director Arthur van Dongen in a team statement. “After all the days we tried to be in the breakaways, our plan today was to save our forces a bit for the tough final week ahead.
“We knew there would be a strong wind at the start of the race. Jos and Edoardo [Affini] had the task of bringing Tobias through this as well as possible. Then that massive crash happened and we lost Jos.”
The race was neutralised, with ambulances and emergency services having to handle a large number of injured riders. Van Emden, Emanuel Buchmann (Bora Hansgrohe) and Natnael Berhane (Cofidis) were among the early abandons, while Ruben Guerreiro (EF Education-Nippo) initially got back on the bike but then stepped off 18 kilometres after the restart.
The team said Affini and Tobias Foss were also involved in the crash, but apart from Van Emden, the rest of the squad come out unharmed and were able to continue. Foss has emerged as the team’s leading contender for the overall after George Bennett, suffering in the cold and wet conditions, shed chunks of time in the first half of the race. Foss is now sitting in tenth position – moving up a spot after the sixth-placed Buchmann had to withdraw following the crash – and sitting 5:37 back from race leader Egan Bernal. Bennett is 16th at 11:48.
Heading into the final pivotal 6 stages of the race, the team said they will miss Van Emden, with the experienced 36 year old having lined up to race the Giro d’Italia ten times and won a stage in 2017.
“It is of course a great pity that we have to miss such an important rider in the last week,” said Van Dongen. “Not only for the team, but especially for Jos himself. He was in very good shape and could support the team very well. Fortunately he is doing well, considering the circumstances.”
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