Just a day after nearly everything went right for Garmin-Transitions, capped by Tyler Farrar’s stage victory Sunday, nearly everything went wrong less than 24 hours later.
For the second year in a row, Christian Vande Velde crashed out of the Giro d’Italia on the third stage. (Related: 2009 Giro, stage 3: A mixed day for Garmin)
Vande Velde went down in a pileup with about 25km to go in Monday’s windy, nervous stage to Middelburg and he did not finish. TV cameras caught the American writhing in pain but it was not clear what caused the crash.
Team officials announced later that Vande Velde had broken his right clavicle.
Depending on the severity of the injury, Vande Velde’s start at the Tour de France should not be in jeopardy. His crash in the 2009 Giro left him in much worse condition, yet he was still able to race to eighth in the Tour.
He will undergo surgery tomorrow in Antwerp and after that will work with the team’s medical staff on a recovery plan.
“It is frustrating that it has happened for the second year in a row here, especially coming off Tyler’s win yesterday,” Vande Velde said in a team statement. “I really wanted to be here to be a part of everything that comes next — whether it be helping David get into pink or just being part of the team here. I’ll be rooting for them at home, though, and I will do everything I can to be on the start line at the Tour de France,” said Vande Velde.
If Vande Velde’s crash wasn’t bad enough, bad luck struck again. Farrar was poised to win the stage and take the maglia rosa after starting the stage just one second behind Evans.
But Farrar either crashed or was caught behind the spill that took down Bradley Wiggins (Sky) in the closing kilometers and lost contact with the front group.
Despite the presence of GC favorites Cadel Evans (BMC) and Carlos Sastre (Cervélo), the chase group could not close the gap to the leading group of 29 riders and he crossed the line 46 seconds back to all but torpedo his pink-jersey dreams.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom, however. David Millar finished safely in the lead group and slots into third overall at just one second behind new race leader Alexander Vinokourov (Astana).
And if Garmin-Transitions can post a strong ride in the 33km team time trial to Cuneo, Millar will be poised to take the pink jersey Wednesday.