Marco Pinotti (BMC) broke two ribs and injured his shoulder after crashing heavily during today's 24km time trial stage at the Tour Méditerranéen. Despite his injuries the five-time Italian time trial champion rode the final four kilometres to the finish, which rose sharply at a 15 percent average gradient.
"It was a tailwind on that section and I crashed a couple meters after the corner," Pinotti said. "It was probably the wind because I didn't crash exactly on the corner. I was still coming out of it, turning left and the wind was coming from the left.
"It was really painful to breathe, but after five or six minutes I decided to finish the race because it was only four kilometers." Due to the crash and subsequent injuries Pinotti finished in 163rd place for the day, more than 13 minutes off the winning time of Lars Boom.
Pinotti, winner of time trials last season at the Giro d'Italia and Tour of Austria, suffered an abrupt end to his 2012 campaign after he crashed during the time trial world championship and broke his left collarbone. While the 36-year-old Italian again came down hard on the left collarbone in today's crash, it appears not to be fractured.
"He injured the collarbone at the same site where he injured it before," said BMC Racing Team Doctor Scott Major. "The ribs he broke are more like hairline fractures and are not displaced, so he had no injuries to his lungs, kidney or spleen. He does have a lot of abrasions on his left side: his back, his shoulder and his hip.
"He will probably be off his bike for seven to 10 days and then the medical team will re-evaluate things before we decide how quickly he can start training again."