FRASCATI, Italy (VN) — Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) was reminded how cruel racing can be Tuesday following a late-stage crash that has effectively knocked him out of the overall race for the Giro.
The 2017 Giro d’Italia champion went down in one of two crashes in the closing kilometers of Tuesday’s fourth stage of the Giro and forfeited four minutes to his direct GC rivals.
Dumoulin’s Sunweb teammates rallied around him, but he crossed the line 4:04 behind stage-winner Richard Carapaz (Movistar).
“There are no fractures, which is good, but my knee is very swollen,” Dumoulin said. “I wasn’t able to push any power in the last few kilometers, so I don’t know how I will be tomorrow. The GC is for sure gone.”
There were two major crashes in the closing 6km that impacted the finale as sprinters and GC riders were jostling for position coming into a complicated hilltop finale to Frascati, ending with a 2km gradual climb to the finish line.
The first crash occurred at about 6km to go as Ineos rider Salvatore Puccio glanced briefly to his right, and clipped the wheel of the rider in front of him to cause the crash.
Sunweb rider Chad Haga crashed off to the left side of the road and Dumoulin was slammed to the ground.
“First we heard it was only Chad [Haga], then we heard Tom needed a new bike,” said Sunweb sport director Marc Reef.
When the Dutchman remounted his bicycle, blood was streaming from his left knee. Sunweb teammates tried to chase back as the peloton splintered after the pileup, but Dumoulin grimaced in pain as he pedaled toward the finish line. Dumoulin fell from 5th to 56th on GC, now at 4:30 back.
“Tom told me he had pain in his knee and that’s why he lost four minutes because he could not push his pedals,” said Sunweb sport director Michiel Elijzen. “It’s hard when you came here to win the Giro and after four stages, you are four minutes from the first one.”
Overnight leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) was on the right side of the road when the first crash happened, and he sprinted clear of danger to stay with the front group. Carapaz attacked with 600m to go to drop Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), and Roglic crossed the line sixth at two seconds back.
Behind them, arch-rival Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and others, including Movistar’s Mikel Landa, were involved in another pileup as the bunch chased through a traffic circle. That lead chase group ceded 16 seconds to Roglic who was clear up the road with the Carapaz group.
Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) was just to the left side of Puccio as the Italian fell, and squeaked through without crashing. The Colombian said he avoided the second pileup among the chasing GC favorites to survive the hectic finale unscathed.
“We had a bit of luck there and missed the crash,” Lopez said. “Something like this can happen in these type of finishes and we saved the day.
“What’s important is that we’re safe, we have good legs, and we’re still in the fight.”
Roglic expanded his lead to 35 seconds to Yates, with Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) remaining in third, now at 39 seconds back. Lopez also remained fourth, now 44 seconds back.
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