It was supposed to be a straightforward day for the sprinters but a crash 30 kilometres from the finish of stage 5 of the Tour de San Luis resulted in several general classification contenders hitting the deck and some going to hospital. Race leader and Thursday’s winner Eduardo Sepulveda, was one of those involved as well as Nairo Quintana and Rodrigo Contreras.
The crash was caused when Adriano Malori’s front wheel went into a crack in the road, causing him to somersault off his bike. The Italian hit his head during the crash and has been taken to hospital as a precaution. Movistar announced later that Malori will stay under observation in hospital for the next 48 hours. He also took several of his teammates down with only Dayer Quintana and Francisco Ventoso staying upright. Nairo Quintana was able to ride back to the hotel with the rest of the Movistar team. However, Daniel Moreno lost over 10 minutes and was still being seen to by the team doctor when Cyclingnews left. The Spaniard appeared to have hurt his left hip but nothing further of his condition is known. Quintana commented on Twitter, giving his well wishes to everyone caught up in the melee.
Etixx-QuickStep directeur sportive Davide Bramati said the crash occurred when the peloton started to go full gas because the breakaway was at three minutes.
"Then the next thing we heard on the radio that there had been a big crash and they were telling us to come,” Bramati told Cyclingnews after the stage. “We arrived there and [Rodrigo] Contreras has a very big cut on his knee and now we will go to hospital. [Max] Richeze has maybe hurt his leg and also Stijn [Vandenbergh] crashed.”
It was at that point that all hell broke loose at the Etixx-QuickStep bus as Contreras was being helped into the car by the team doctor. The 21-year-old had been sitting at the side of the bus while the doctor tried in vain to patch up his knee. As he went to climb into the team car, he took off his shoe and blood poured out. Joining him in the trip to the hospital was Richeze, who was hobbling due to the pain in his left hip. Despite the serious injury, Contreras managed to finish on the same time as the rest of the peloton, maintaining his place of third in the overall classification.
Race leader Sepulveda managed to avoid a trip to the hospital and was able to attend the post-stage press conference. He had obvious injuries to his legs but appeared to have avoided the worst of it.
“I am fine but I hurt both of my knees in the crash,” he said. “Everybody was looking for the first positions in the peloton. Movistar was ahead and we tried to chase them but I fell again and had to change my bike. I’m now just looking forward to getting back to the hotel and recovering a bit more.”
Around 40 riders in total were involved in the crash, with technical assistance delayed due to the number of riders in the road. Cannondale’s Bingen Fernandez told Cyclingnews that three of his riders went down, with Lawson Craddock the worst injured after he hurt his mouth in the fall. The Texan also required a new bike after breaking his derailleur. Andre Cardoso and Andrew Talansky were also involved, with Talansky also needing a new bike. Astana’s Michele Scarponi crashed as did Italy’s Riccardo Minali.
Cyclingnews will keep you updated on the condition of the riders as we get any news.