Orica-Scott sports director Matt White has slammed Movistar's decision to continue driving at the front of the peloton when several major GC riders, including the Australian squad's Adam Yates, were caught up in a major crash on stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia.
The crash, also affecting Team Sky's Mikel Landa and Geraint Thomas, among others, took place close to the foot of the Blockhaus, the key final climb of the stage. Yates came close to regaining contact with the peloton, but with a semi-wrecked bike, he finally faded to lose over four minutes on the stage.
The British climber, fourth in last year's Tour de France, has slumped from third overall on Saturday to 17th, nearly five minutes down on new race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team).
Yates did not talk to reporters immediately after he finished but his director Matt White was adamant that the Spanish team should have taken a different approach when the news was radioed through that three of Quintana's rivals had crashed.
"Adam had a broken bike, his wheel was rubbing on the frame as well," White told Cyclingnews, "and he's got some superficial injuries." But if such misfortune can happen to any rider in a crash, White was deeply critical of "that other team" [Movistar] going flat out.
"We got within 50 metres of getting back on, so it's pretty disappointing and a poor decision from Movistar as well. There was no need to do that.
"It wasn't one kilometre from the finish, it was 15 or 16 kilometres from the finish, they were chasing nobody, and everyone knew who was on the deck.
"So all they had to do was just wait a little bit to let the guys have a chance to get up. It's a poor sportsmanship call."
Read more on this story
- Quintana powers to Giro d'Italia lead with stunning Blockhaus display
- Team Sky pick up the pieces as Giro d'Italia hopes take a battering
- Giro d'Italia: Stage 9 highlights - Video
- Giro d'Italia: Thomas, Landa & Yates crash en route to Blockhaus
- Stage 9 - Giro d'Italia: Quintana conquers Blockhaus
Team morale, he said, was "fine, but it's bloody frustrating. Morale doesn't change, we'll just have to change different goals. It's a big blow to our podium chances, but shit happens.
"We'll be going after stage wins, maybe the White Jersey is still possible, Adam's form is good, he's not injured, and it's a long way to Milan."
White said that Yates was angry, "of course he's angry, he's worked his arse off to get to this point, but a bit of anger sometimes doesn't do anybody any harm.
"Movistar," he argued, "didn't have to ride the way they did."
Quintana defended Movistar's failure to ease up in his winner's press conference, saying "When the race is on, it's on, it's not easy to lift your foot from the pedal. I'm just sorry the crash happened.
"I was well ahead, there was a crash behind, and I heard that had happened, but I had no idea there were so many GC riders involved."
Other riders affected by the crash, like Geraint Thomas (Sky), have said they understood Movistar's decision to keep racing. "It's just unfortunate," Thomas said. "It shouldn't have happened, but that's what happened and I don't blame them [Movistar], they were already riding a good while before that."
Stage 9 Highlights
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.