Tiralongo quits Vuelta a España after starting with 20 stitches

Paolo Tiralongo has abandoned the Vuelta a España after starting stage 3 with 20 stitches in a facial injury.

Tiralongo crashed in the final 20km of Sunday’s stage to Caminito del Rey, going down close to team leader Vincenzo Nibali, who was later disqualified from the Vuelta after stage 2 for taking an illegal tow from an Astana team car.

Tiralongo posted a photo of his injuries via Twitter, showing the stitches that had been applied to cuts above and below his right eye. The Astana team reportedly wanted him to abandon the race due to his injuries but he signed on for stage three wearing two dressings covering his injuries. The Astana team confirmed Tiralongo's abandon, saying he was suffering with injuries to his face, shoulder, hip and legs. The loss of the experienced Sicilian is a blow for Fabio Aru. The two are close friends and training partners. In the absence of Nibali, Aru is now the Astana team leader for the Vuelta.  

The stage two crash saw several riders suffer nasty injuries, with David Tanner (IAM Cycling) and Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) forced to abandon the race. Earlier Matteo Pelucchi was also forced to abandon after his wheel slipped out from under him.

Tanner suffered a suspected fractured pelvis after landing heavily on his side. The Australian seemed out of danger at the back of the peloton but went down as riders braked to avoid the crash. Fortunately further checks on Monday confirmed that he had not suffered any fractures.

Niemiec won a stage in last year’s Vuelta a España but his race ended with him laying motionless on his front while his teammates and other fallers started to pick themselves up. Niemiec was able to walk away from the crash but was forced to abandon with a head injury. The Lampre-Merida team doctor explained that he suffered a head injury and was kept in hospital over night for observation.

Monday's 158km third stage of the Vuelta a España is from Mijas to Málaga and is expected to see the sprinters in action. 

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