Team Sunweb's Wilco Kelderman has been forced to abandon the Giro d'Italia following stage 9 after he broke his finger following a crash involving a police motorbike. The Dutchman was the first rider to hit the police bike in the run into the final Blockahus climb. His fall caused several others to come down, including Adam Yates and Team Sky's GC men Geraint Thomas and Mikel Landa.
Kelderman will require surgery on his finger, as it was the same one he broke when he crashed at Strade Bianche, and will need a four to six-week recovery period.
"We were taking our position in front-left side and we needed to avoid the motor that was on the road. Tom just managed to go around the motorbike but I clipped it with my handlebar," Kelderman said. "This is a big disappointment for me, I felt really strong and it's devastating to not have been able to help Tom some more with his great result today.
"So far the Giro has been really good for the team, there's a great atmosphere and spirit which is great to be a part of. I've worked really hard over the past few months to raise my level and it's really sad that I cannot continue to show this."
While the other stricken riders were able to remount and finish the stage, the 26-year-old Kelderman was unable to finish and abandoned a Grand Tour fir the first time in his career. Third on the stage should have been causing for celebration for teammate Tom Dumoulin. However, he explained his displeasure with a race vehicle affecting the race.
"I'm feeling shit because we lost Wilco," Dumoulin said. "Wilco was feeling very good, and I was really comfortable with him. Now I cannot be happy today because he would have been so important in the final week, and I'm really disappointed for him. My own performance was good, and I'm happy with that, but losing Wilco is a real shame."
Coach Aike Visbeek says Kelderman's accident and subsequent abandon was hard to deal with considering the ride by Dumoulin.
"Today is truly a day with mixed emotions. The team did a great job and both Wilco and Tom felt really good. The guys were taking their position at the front when Wilco crashed and immediately it was clear that his Giro was over," Visbeek said. "It's disappointing to loose him, he's an important rider both on and off the bike. We are here on a mission and we will deal with this in the most positive way that we can. We are obviously disappointed but we have a strong team that are all determined. Tom did a great ride today and showed his strength, our motivation continues and our team spirit remains strong."
With the Giro enjoying a rest day Monday, Visbeek and Dumoulin will plan to take the maglia rosa in Tuesday's time trial. Just 30 seconds separate Nairo Quintana in first and Dumoulin third ahead of the decisive 39.8km Foligno to Montefalco time trial.