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Tour de France

Ineos Grenadiers’ Tour de France GC hopes survive crash-filled stage 2 finale

Dani Martinez and Filippo Ganna hit the deck inside the final three kilometers but neither loses time.

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NYBORG, Denmark (VN) — Ineos Grenadiers‘ GC hopes at the Tour de France survived despite a crash-filled finale on stage 2.

Dani Martinez had nowhere to go when a rider fell near him and found himself at the bottom of a pile of bikes and bodies. TT man and key team engine Filippo Ganna also hit the deck and fell on his shoulder in the pile-up just after the bunch had negotiated the Great Belt bridge.

If there was any silver lining for the riders, the crash had happened inside the final three kilometers of the stage and Martinez did not lose any time. He and Ganna will be checked out by the team’s medical staff to assess the full extent of their injuries.

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“He seems ok, but we’ll have to wait and see,” team sports director Stephen Cummings said of Ganna. “It was a block headwind so it makes everything more dangerous really because it keeps everyone pretty fresh. I think someone caught the barriers. It’s quite narrow and it’s not consistent either, the barriers keep changing.

“Dani crashed. I don’t know how he is doing. We’ll have to see, but it was inside the final three kilometers, so he hasn’t lost any time.”

Ganna still sits in fourth place overall, thanks to his time trial performance, while Martinez remains 45 seconds behind the yellow jersey.

Fortunately for Ineos, the team’s other two GC hopes Geraint Thomas and Adam Yates were able to avoid the fall and rode to the finish inside the massively reduced bunch. Thomas was right by his teammates as the crash spilled out through the group, but narrowly missed going down himself.

“It was sketchy and stressful, but we’ve definitely had worse. We knew because of the wind direction not a lot was going to happen, but it was still a very nervous peloton with crashes and whatever,” Thomas said at the finish. “Even though we knew the direction on the bridge everyone wanted to still be in front, so the boys were really good looking after me, Yatesy, and Dani so we were in a great position.

“We were just unfortunate at the end with Ganna and Dani in a crash. I saw it in the corner of my eye, lucky I wasn’t right behind them. I saw a big black-blue thing hit the deck and, unfortunately, it was Ganna. I haven’t seen them yet, but hopefully, they’re alright.”

The crosswind chaos that had been predicted didn’t materialize during stage 2 from Roskilde to Nyborg. As the bunch reached the long bridge crossing, the group was packed together, and Cummings believes that the full-on headwind, combined with the Tour de France nerves, made it a far trickier finale.

“There wasn’t much happening because of the headwind but it’s just nervous because it’s the Tour de France and everybody knows where you go off the bridge and where it narrows and then it’s just a drag race,” Cummings said. “If the wind had been in the opposite direction, then there would have been pieces all over Denmark.”