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Tao Geoghegan Hart crashes out of Paris-Nice

BLAUSASC FRANCE FEBRUARY 21 Tao Geoghegan Hart of United Kingdom and Team INEOS Grenadiers Julien El Fares of France and Team EF Education Nippo during the 53rd Tour Des Alpes Maritimes Et Du Var Stage 3 a 1347km stage from Blausasc to Blausasc letour0683 on February 21 2021 in Blausasc France Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Tao Geoghegan Hart of Ineos Grenadiers (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Tao Geoghegan Hart's Paris-Nice came to an end on Wednesday after the Ineos Grenadiers leader crashed on a descent with 19km remaining on stage 4.

The Giro d'Italia champion was fifth in line in the peloton when he slipped out on a right-hand bend on the descent of Mont Brouilly, taking out Groupama-FDJ leader David Gaudu in the process.

Although Geoghegan Hart was the quicker to his feet and his bike, it was Guadu who successfully made his way back to the bunch with the help of a teammate, while it soon became apparent Geoghegan Hart was injured. 

He had teammates around him at the time of the crash but was soon alone and freewheeling down the rest of the descent, throwing worried glances at his right arm and leg.

Geoghegan Hart pressed on for a few kilometres but it was soon announced he had abandoned the race and was heading to hospital.

At the finish, team director Gabriel Rasch explained to reporters that Geoghegan Hart had hit his head in the fall and felt dizzy afterwards. 

"On the descent there his front wheel slipped in a corner, he was fourth position, so really bad luck really. I don't know if there was some gravel or why exactly he slipped," Rasch said. 

"Then he landed on his face and his head, and his knee pretty bad, so he felt a bit dizzy and we thought it was the right decision to stop him and not take any risks."

Geoghegan Hart later took to social media to give an update of his own. 

"Landed on my head today," he said. "Thank you Ineos Grenadiers the medical team for putting my long-term welfare first when it was clear I wasn’t 100%. Little rest, no screen-time & hopefully back soon."

It's another blow for Ineos Grenadiers, who lost their other GC option, former winner Richie Porte, to a crash on the opening day.

Dylan van Baarle was the team's best-placed GC rider after the stage 3 time trial but lost more than a minute on the final climb and tumbled out of the top 10 as the climbers and pre-race favourites came to the fore. Laurens de Plus finished outside the top-40 and himself fell out of overall contention.

The British team will have to turn their attention to stage wins in the remaining four stages, with Ben Swift, Rohan Dennis, and Andrey Amador the other riders remaining in the race.

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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.