ARES DEL MAESTRAT, Spain (VN) — A mid-race crash Thursday knocked some key protagonists out of the Vuelta a España.
A high-speed pile-up involving several teams midway through the 198.9km sixth stage sent Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First) and former leader Nicholas Roche (Sunweb) home early. Prior to the crash Roche was in fifth place and Uran was in sixth place, respectively, in the overall standings.
The news was a blow for the Vuelta and for the riders involved, including Urán who was one of the podium favorites in this edition of the Spanish grand tour.
“We’re not having any luck in this Vuelta,” said EF Education First sport director Juanma Garate on Spanish TV. “It was a heavy crash in the middle of the bunch. Rigo hit the ground pretty hard, and he’s in an ambulance now with what looks like a broken clavicle.”
It was not exactly clear what caused the crash, but several riders went down in the main bunch chasing behind the day’s main breakaway. The speed of Thursday’s stage was very fast, with the peloton riding about 30 minutes faster than the estimated time of arrival.
Several riders from Deceuninck-Quick-Step, Lotto-Soudal, Jumbo-Visma, Sunweb and EF Education First were involved. Victor de la Parte (CCC Team) and Hugh Carthy (EF Education First) also abandoned. Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) was spotted riding with his riding shorts ripped open and Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) crashed heavily on his back.
“Davide suffered a blow to the back, and he cannot pedal very well,” said Bora-Hansgrohe sport director Patxi Vila. “Let’s see if he can make it to the finish and get checked out. We knew it was going to be a nervous stage, but the crash happened on a relatively open part of the road. We’re not sure exactly what happened.”
The early days of the Vuelta have seen a handful of riders leaving early. Tour de France podium finisher Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) was forced to abandon Tuesday following a crash in the opening team time trial.