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According to Ineos Grenadiers director sportif Gabriel Rasch, Geoghegan Hart was dizzy on the bicycle following the pileup. Geoghegan Hart, the 2020 Giro d’Italia champion, was taken to a local hospital for a checkup, the team said.
“He [was] in the descent there, [and] his front wheel slipped in a corner. He was fourth position, so really bad luck, really,” Rasch said. “I don’t know if there was some gravel or why exactly he slipped. He landed on his face and his hip and his knee pretty bad. He felt a bit dizzy and felt it was the right decision to stop him without taking any risks.”
"It was the right decision to stop him. We won't take any risks."
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) March 10, 2021
TV cameras caught sight of Geoghegan Hart stepping back onto his bicycle as the peloton rumbled down a winding descent in the closing kilometers of the race. After he remounted, Geoghegan Hart drifted off the back of the peloton, before stopping entirely.
“They waited at the back of the peloton until they saw which state Tao was in and I told them to carry on and do their very best,” Rasch said.
Geoghegan Hart tweeted to his followers after the stage, discussing the incident. “Landed on my head today,” he wrote. “Thank you Ineos Grenadiers & the medical team for putting my long-term welfare first when it was clear I wasn’t 100%.”
The crash and abandonment mark an early setback for Geoghegan Hart’s 2021 campaign, which will see him make his Tour de France debut as a chief lieutenant for Geraint Thomas. Geoghegan Hart won the 2020 Giro in thrilling fashion, coming from behind in the final week to take the pink jersey in the final individual time trial. For 2021 Ineos Grenadiers management decided to steer the young Briton toward the Tour and not a defense of the Giro.
The abandonment is the latest blow to Ineos Grenadiers’ Paris-Nice team. On stage 1, two-time winner Richie Porte abandoned the race after crashing.
How the crash impacts Geoghegan Hart’s 2021 racing campaign is not yet known.
Geoghegan Hart had been at the front of a chasing group on the penultimate descent.
Coming around a very tight, off-camber hairpin turn, he went down in the middle of the road. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) came around the same corner and rode into the grass to avoid hitting the Ineos Grenadier. Both riders quickly remounted their bikes, but Geoghegan Hart visibly struggled, while Gaudu went up the road in pursuit of the fast-moving main group.
Several moments later, a race moto with a TV camera focused on a struggling Geoghegan Hart. As the main bunch took to the final climb some 12km later, Geoghegan Hart announced his abandonment of the race.