Cycling can be both a beautiful and a brutal sport, and Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec rider Ivan Ramiro Sosa has seen both sides of it in the past two days at the Tour of the Alps. Sosa gave away four minutes and lost his leader's jersey after crashing on the descent of the Passo Palade on stage 3.
"I'm good. I don't know. I hit a pothole and lost control of my bike," he said after the race while sipping on a can of pop, the scratches on his arms were evidence of the earlier incident. "It is important to be happy to be with the contenders at this Tour, and I am learning a lot, especially today."
On Tuesday, the 20-year-old Colombian put in a ride beyond his years to finish third on the Alpe di Pampeago, a performance that put him into the race lead. Holding onto the overall lead was always going to be a tough ask against a field that contains the likes of Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), but he began stage 3 with the leader's jersey and a smile on his face.
When the break went clear, his Androni teammates managed the bunch before letting the more prominent teams take control as the roads got steeper. Sosa was dropped briefly when Pinot and three others went clear on the first ascent of the Passo della Mendola. He clawed his way back to the main group and was near the front as they crested the second and final climb of the day.
As the action ramped up at the front with Froome scything down the descent in search of the leaders, Sosa's hopes of retaining the leader's jersey were gone. Not only did he come down after hitting a hole in the ground, but a race moto subsequently ran into him. Fortunately for Sosa, the damage wasn't too serious, and the distraught moto driver apologised to him after the stage.
It was a tough day in general for the Androni team with another of their riders going to the hospital with breathing problems after also coming down during the stage. Despite the team's misfortune, owner Gianni Savio remained his usual upbeat self, saying "you have to smile at the bad luck and keep going."
Sosa now sits just outside the top 20 at 4:04 behind the new race leader Pinot. Thursday's stage 4 is a slightly easier day out, but the final stage into Innsbruck could give Sosa a chance to regain some time in the overall classification.
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