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Ineos Grenadiers confirmed Tuesday morning that their Welsh leader would be withdrawing from the race having fractured his pelvis during a crash in the neutralized zone on stage 3 yesterday.
“It’s so frustrating,” Thomas said Tuesday. “I’d put so much work into this race. I did everything I could and feel like I was in just as good, if not better shape, than when I won the Tour. I was feeling really good. So for it just to end like this is gutting.”
The 2018 Tour de France champion had crashed heavily having ridden over a full bidon in the neutralized rollout through Sicilian town Enna on Monday. Though he was able to complete the stage, he came to the finish line atop Etna over 12 minutes off the pace, his jersey and shorts torn to shreds and his GC hopes likewise in tatters.
While initial X-Rays last night revealed no broken bones, further tests Tuesday morning revealed the worst.
“Geraint had an MRI and a CT scan this morning which revealed a small undisplaced fracture in the lower part of the pelvis which wasn’t picked up on the X-rays yesterday,” said team doctor Phil Riley. “As a precaution, he will be withdrawn from the race as it’s an injury that could easily be aggravated.”
Thomas has now fractured his pelvis three times in his career, first sustaining the injury in 2009 and again in 2013. The second incident occurred at the opening stage of the Tour de France, but Thomas bloodymindedly battled on to Paris in support of teammate and eventual winner Chris Froome.
“I was really up for starting today,” Thomas said Tuesday morning. “I woke up and wanted to start with the boys and at least help them go for stages over the next few days, but deep down I knew something wasn’t right, so we went to get these extra scans. It does make the decision easier when there’s a fracture in some ways, because obviously I don’t want to do any more damage.”
The Welshman’s last appearance at the Giro in 2017 also came to an early end after he collided with a parked moto and injured his knee.
The news of the 34-year-old’s withdrawal from the race marks the next disappointment in a dismal summer campaign for Ineos Grenadiers. The team saw its long dominance over the Tour de France ended in September after Egan Bernal had to withdraw from the race as a result of injuries sustained in a crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné the month beforehand.
The grand tour powerhouse will now be relying on young climber Tao Geoghegan Hart and Spanish motor Jonathan Castroviejo to hunt stages in the mountains, and hope that Filippo Ganna can continue to dominate against the clock at the Giro’s two remaining time trials.
After that, Froome is slated to be leading the team at the Vuelta a España – if he has the form.
Annus horribilis? It’s started to look that way.