MARINA DI CARRARA, Italy (VN) — The heavy sprint corps at Tirreno-Adriatico may be without Andre Greipel after Wednesday’s opening team time trial. The Omega Pharma-Lotto rider crashed hard during a pre-ride of the course and injured his face.
“Just a shit moment,” said Greipel. “There was a hole, but I didn’t see it and I lost the handlebar. I am lucky that we were not so fast.”
The left side of his face covered in bandages, the German briefly talked with reporters outside the Omega Pharma bus following the stage. The team finished 11th, 41 seconds behind Rabobank. Greipel said he was happy to even make it to the start of the 16.5km opener.
“I’m happy that I could ride today then I’ll see how it is tomorrow,” said Greipel. “Just ten minutes before the start I decided that I was going to see how it is.”
Greipel said that the crash happened quickly enough that he could not brace himself. His left hand held some road rash, but the blood dried below his nose and the three white bandages concealing his left cheek and chin indicated where the real damage occurred. Greipel had hoped to contest likely sprints in stages 2 and 3, but was unsure whether he would be able to finish the seven-day race.
“I hope I can finish Tirreno-Adriatico because it is necessary,” said Greipel as he rode away toward the team’s hotel.
According to the race doctor, Greipel suffered cuts, scrapes and bruises on his cheek and chin and a serious bruise on his forearm.