Michal Golas of Vacansoleil-DMC and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) were the principal victims of the mass crash at the end of Friday's stage at the Vuelta, but they brought many others down, including a number of big names overall contenders
Race leader and red jersey wearer Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) was happy to be have been out of harm's way. “The only rough moment came at the arrival when Farrar slid out and caused a pile-up. Luckily I managed to brake in time and not fall,” he said.
2010 Vuelta winner Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) was forced to walk to the finish line after the crash. He hurt his hip and was treating it with ice and anti-inflamatories.
“It was a nervous finish and I wanted to stay near the front, to avoid any gaps forming," he said. "We were going flat out but then a lot of riders were taken down. I dived on the right, against the barriers and ended up on the ground. There’s was nothing else I could do to avoid it. It could have actually been much worse.”
Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha, fourth overall, was caught up in the crash. His worst injury was “some discomfort in his wrist, when he had to “brake very hard,” he told the EFE news agency. “I had practically stopped and had fallen backwards, when I crashed onto something soft.” Another rider, presumably.
Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) went down hard on his right side after spinning through the air. He was quickly up and rode to the finish with some help from his teammates. He has hurt his right arm and back, and a chain ring cut into his shin.
“I suddenly found a rider on the ground in front of me,” Scarponi said. “I managed to hit the brakes and so I hit the ground quite slowly, But then a bike hit me and hurt me. I’m not sure how bad things are at the moment. I just hope they don’t get worse over night. It’s created a further obstacle to overcome in the next few days but I’ll try and get over it.”
Tom Boonen was close enough to the front to be involved as well. “In the last kilometres there were a series of swerves due to the tension in the group. Maes tried to lead me in the final but when the group made a sudden move I lost his wheel. Right afterward Farrar fell. I was coming up from behind and I couldn't avoid crashing, along with several other riders,” he said in the Quick Step press release.
Rabobank's Bauke Mollema got only average marks for his gymnastic performance in the finale. The Dutchman “did a nice somersault but the landing was not perfect,” DS Erik Dekker told the ANP agency. Mollema has “a very small cut on his shoulder and is suffering from a muscle problem in his neck, so that's being cooled with ice. He doesn't look to be too badly off.”
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