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FOLIGNO, Italy (VN) — Team Sky wants the Giro d’Italia and cycling to investigate the motorcycle-caused crash Sunday that took out its stars Mikel Landa and Geraint Thomas, as well as Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) and Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb).
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The incident occurred near 14 kilometers to go, shortly before the start of the Blockhaus summit finish Sunday. A police escort motorbike stopped on the left white line to let the group pass and triggered a pile-up.
Movistar remained on the front and launched Nairo Quintana, who went on to win the stage and take the pink jersey.
Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) hit first, broke his finger and abandoned the Giro. He was due to help Sunweb captain Tom Dumoulin in the coming two weeks. The Sky captains both lost chunks of time, Thomas 5:08 and Landa 26:56. Plus, Yates fell behind by 4:39.
“The motorbike shouldn’t have been there, I think we all see that, but I think the guy riding the motorbike realizes that too, and I’m sure he won’t be feeling too great,” Sky team boss David Brailsford said.
“I do think we need to go back and have a look at it and just ask the questions. Why was it, why did it happen, et cetera.”
“He was stopping to let the group pass, to help guide the others behind through the crowd and look for their safety,” race director Mauro Vegni said. “That’s something that he does every stage, something that’s normal, but today it went badly.
“I don’t want this to ruin the life of someone who worked for many years, every day in the snow and rain also, to help guide the riders safely.”
After stage 9, Sky and the rest of the Corsa Rosa came to a stop for a rest day in Foligno. On Tuesday, the race restarts with a 39.8-kilometer time trial.
Quintana leads Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) by 28 seconds and Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) by 30 seconds. Dumoulin, a strong rider in the time trials, could take over the pink leader’s jersey in the stage.
The TT stage might have also been a chance for Thomas to take control of the race. Now, Sky must rethink how it heads through the next two weeks. It not only lost Thomas, but its co-leader Landa.
“These things happen in sport sometime, you just have to stay calm and not overreact,” Brailsford added. “My role here is to keep the guys calm, assess the situation and look to see how we go on from here.
“You have to recalibrate and keep going. You get knocked down and you have to get up again and keep going. That’s what we’ll do.”
Last year Sky’s leader Landa abandoned midway, so the team focused on stage wins and won one with Mikel Nieve. This could become the focus for Landa and Thomas.
“I doubt the boys are going to just let me gain back that time easily,” Thomas said, referring to the GC favorites. “I don’t know, we’ll plan for the rest of the race.”
Sky for the first time gave Thomas the leadership role heading into a grand tour after served as a helper for Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome for years. Now, he will have to ride out the Giro and consider other grand tour options.