Giro d'Italia (st. 6)
Nairo Quintana -now 11th overall- stays within main favourites atop Montecassino after pile-up takes five Movistar Team riders down, gives Evans (BMC) extra 49-second advantage. Amador suffers cervical sprain
A mass crash with just over 10km from Montecassino, finish of stage six in the Giro d’Italia -the longest of this year’s race, over 257km starting at Sassano-, overshadowed the day’s result in a Corsa Rosa which hasn’t witnessed a completely dry day of racing yet in 2014.
No less than five Movistar Team riders -Quintana, Amador, Castroviejo, Izagirre and Malori- hit the ground in the pile-up, which happened into a roundabout just before the Category-2 climb leading the riders into the finish line. With Quintana back on the bike, Ventoso, Capecchi -in the beginnign of the ascent-, Antón and Herrada -especially brave effort by the Spaniard, with long turns halfway through the climb- made a great effort to pursuit a leading group that came across the finish in four: Matthews (OGE), race leader and stage winner; Wellens (LTB), Rabottini (NRI) and Evans (BMC), the only one from the favourites to make it through the split. The gap ultimately grew to 49 seconds.
The crash did not have major physical consequences for Malori; even after crashing hard, no significant injuries are observed either on Castroviejo’s body. With Quintana hit in several parts but not suffering big injuries and a wound in Gorka Izagirre’s elbow which does not rule out his continuity in the race, focus was set on Andrey Amador. Pain in his neck at the finish advised him to undergo X-ray checks, which discarded any fractures but revealed a cervical sprain. The Costa Rican is still due to take the start tomorrow on stage seven -211km between Frosinone and Foligno-.
Nairo sits now in 11th overall, 2’08” adrift of Matthews and 1’47” behind Evans, with a flat day on the way to the Appennines’ stages of this weekend.
REACTION | Nairo Quintana: “I have several blows over my body: the shoulder, the elbow, my hip, both knees… to be honest, it was inevitable to crash – I think more than half of the bunch hit the ground. From our team, half plus one; from the others, I guess it will be the same. I got back on my bike quickly thanks to Ventoso, who was riding by my side, and we could bridge the gap with the pursuit group, where my team-mates did an amazing job. They were phenomenal, because we were losing so much ground and it was difficult to gain terrain back. I think we must stay thankful, because even with the blows, none of us had to go to hospital and that’s important, because it keeps us into the fight.
“It has been a difficult first week so far due to bad weather. We already were unlucky during the team time trial – rain made us lose more time than we should have, but afterwards, we got through all crashes until today and no major incidents happened. It’s quite a gap we have to Evans, but as I said, I’m thankful I don’t have any serious injuries. Crashes in the last two days are normal, because it had been a lot of time with no rain in the zone, and roads become a pool of soap when it gets wet. It’s very difficult to control your bike in such conditions, and even more at 60kph. My legs are still getting used to competition – now we hope to get back into good feelings on Saturday, with a very hard, real mountain stage. Let’s hope for bad luck to run out and stay away from rain all of us, but looking at the forecast, it seems like it’s gonna be hard.”