Team HTC-Highroad lost both Marco Pinotti and Craig Lewis in a crash at the Giro d’Italia today near Domodossola. They both were taken to a hospital, American Lewis with a broken femur and Italian Pinotti with part of his pelvis fractured.
“I saw in the middle of the road was a traffic island, they crashed on it,” HTC’s sports director, Valerio Piva told Cycling Weekly. “Pinotti had a lot of pain, was not able to move his legs. Now, they are both in the hospital: Pinotti is getting x-rays and the race doctor already called to tell me that Craig broke his right leg.”
Pinotti led the race at the end of the first day thanks to his team’s time trial win. The following day to Parma, in the race leader’s pink jersey, he worked for sprinter Mark Cavendish. Cavendish won two stages last week before abandoning to prepare for the Tour de France.
Yesterday, Pinotti finished second in the stage through his hometown of Bergamo to San Pellegrino Terme. His and Lewis’ Giro d’Italia, though, ended about 35 kilometres from the mountaintop finish to Macugnaga.
Rain made conditions worse in the final of the 19th leg. Katusha led the race for its leader Joaquim Rodríguez, behind Pinotti and Lewis worked to defend HTC’s classification leader, Kanstantsin Sivtsov. They both clipped a traffic island, which stopped Lewis immediately. Pinotti continued, but abandoned only a few kilometres later.
“There was a [traffic] sign, you have to cover it with padding to protect it, the racers come at full gas and don’t see it,” added Piva. “You don’t see that if you are on the bike because it’s not very high.”
Piva paused to reflect.
“We lost two riders now, and Pino was one of the favourites for the time trial on Sunday. Kasta is going very well, but now we don’t have two key helpers for him. Normally, Craig and Pino stay with him in the final. Now we don’t have this, we need to do everything alone.”
Pinotti and Lewis are both at the Domodossola hospital. X-rays, read a race medical bulletin, showed a broken right acetabulum, the part of the pelvis that meets the femur. He also suffered bruising on his right shoulder.
Kasta sits fifth overall and must defend his lead in tomorrow’s leg to Sestriere. He’ll have to rely on only three HTC team-mates.
Sky’s Russell Downing crashed today, too. He climbed cyclo-cross style out of the ditch, continued and finish. He’s at the hospital for a check, but, according to initial reports, he’s fine to continue.
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Giro 2011: Who will win?
Giro d’Italia 2011: Stage reports
Giro d’Italia 2011: Photo galleries
Stage 18 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 17 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 16 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 15 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 14 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Giro d’Italia 2011: Live text coverage
Giro d’Italia 2011: Start list
Giro d’Italia 2011: TV schedule