The American fell heavily early in the short opening Prologue of the Tour de Romandie, but only suffered 'superficial' injuries

On wet roads in Aigle, Switzerland at the Tour de Romandie, Giro d’Italia hopeful Tejay van Garderen crashed during the 4.8km prologue.

>>> Former pro Phil Gaimon goes hunting for more Strava KOMs in latest ‘worst retirement ever’ video

Clearly frustrated after the finish of his brief ride today, van Garderen was witnessed throwing his helmet to the ground after returning to the BMC Racing team bus. Although this is not the end of his hopes for the overall title, it will require some work on his part to fight back into competition.

He finished 113th, 35 seconds down from the winner Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo).

His young Swiss teammate, Tom Bohil, had the best result for BMC finishing in eighth, just 10 seconds down. Australian Richie Porte finished only one second ahead of van Garderen in an overall disappointing opening day for the team.

This is not the first time van Garderen has had a difficult opening day at the Tour de Romandie.

In the 2014 edition, he fell hard in the 5.57km prologue in Ascona, ultimately finishing, albeit in last place and 3 minutes 51 seconds down from that day’s winner Michał Kwiatkowski (then riding for Omega Pharma – Quick-Step).

He fractured his hip in that crash, but initial reports suggest that today’s fall is much less serious and he should be able to continue the stage race tomorrow.

“Tejay van Garderen suffered some contusions on his hip, knee, and elbow as a result of his crash during today’s prologue,”  team doctor Dr. Dario Spinelli said.

“His injuries look only superficial at the moment, so we will keep an eye on them but I do not expect there to be any other problems as a result.”

Both Van Garderen and Porte will look to move up in the general classification during Wednesday’s mountainous stage one which features five categorized climbs and finishes in the small mountain village of Champéry.

Temperatures are predicted to drop and snowfall is anticipated above 2,500 feet which will make for challenging conditions for the second straight day.

“The road was really slippery, and on the third corner, Tejay van Garderen unfortunately crashed,” sports director, Fabio Baldato said afterwards.

“There isn’t much more to say about it really. Everyone was at their limit, and it was a difficult point on the course.

“After that, though he recovered well and he was pulling back time quickly. For me, his condition looked strong, and his form was there, and it was just a shame that he crashed. But, this can happen to anyone.

“It’s all about taking risks, and sometimes you can pay. Right now, it looks like nothing serious which is good as we need Tejay.”