Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) was leading the Tour of Turkey and had the chance of retaining his leader's jersey until a massive crash at the end of stage 2 on Monday. Affected by the crash, Kittel dropped to third place overall after finishing in 140th on the day. He has the same time as new race leader Andre Greipel (Lotto Bellisol).
According to Kittel's team, when the bunch reached the final kilometer, Mark Renshaw (Blanco) touched the rear wheel of his teammate Graeme Brown and went down. The rest of the peloton plowed into them, and only a few riders avoided the pileup and were able to sprint for victory. Kittel was not among those who escaped the crash.
"It's a shame that Marcel lost his leader's jersey because of a crash," said Argos Shimano sports manager Marc Reef. "He is in such good shape and today he could definitely have gone for another stage win. From our team, Marcel, Bert De Backer and Warren Barguil crashed, and they have some bruises and contusions. We'll see how it goes tonight and decide tomorrow morning whether they can start."
After the race Kittel tried to cope with his disappointment by blasting his music, and writing in his blog. "Up until 600 meters from the finish, everything went perfectly. Then the misery spread out before me. A crash from fourth position is not something that happens every day. From that far forward, it should not happen, actually. But never say never," he wrote.
"This pain was inflicted upon me by the impact of the ungentle colleagues on the asphault. I do not know how many of them fell on me, and how many I was on top of. In any case, it hurt. And the fact that the top tube of my bike was on my thigh, and this was pressed down onto my muscles by the weight of the rider lying on me."
"The result? I have a thick swelling, probably a bruise, can barely bend my leg and am skeptical about tomorrow's stage, especially since it is so mountainous. Tomorrow morning I'll ride a little, and then decide whether I will start."
As a consolation prize, Kittel said his turquoise leader's jersey only had a small mark from a rear cog, unlike his ripped shorts, so "It's still good for the trophy cabinet."
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