Sky took a blow yesterday in Spain, with five of its eight riders crashing in the Tour of Burgos’ opening stage.

Christian Knees fell, and Joe Dombrowski, Ian Boswell, Xabier Zandio and Dario Cataldo followed – the first three abandoned and ruled out of today’s second stage to Clunia.

“It was massive. It looked like a war-zone,” Dombrowski told Cycling Weekly this morning.

“After Knees, I was one of the first guys to go down. It seemed like 10 seconds, waves of people crashing down on top of me. By the time it finally stopped, I was four layers deep in bikes and bodies.” Knees, Dombrowski and Boswell abandoned but luckily without fractures.

Sky played it safe as with only 40 kilometers covered it began to rain and the team moved to the pack’s head to avoid danger. Around 25 kilometers later, Knees tyre brushed a rival’s wheel in front of him which set off a wave of crashes and caused about 40 riders to fall, resembling the 2010 Giro d’Italia disaster when four riders, including then race leader Bradley Wiggins to tumbled.

Boswell explained, “I’d just gone back and got bottles. I still had them in my jersey, landed on my back and one of the bottles went into my ribs. I also have a chain ring cut into the same spot on my back. It’s really painful.”

He and Dombrowski went to the hospital for X-rays. “We made sure that there wasn’t a broken rib or punctured rib,” Boswell continued, “to make sure I was able to fly.” Dombrowski added, “I’ve got a bit of a contusion on my left leg but it should be fine.”

Sky called in the American first-year pros at the last minute before joining Froome at the Tour of Colorado. They now are sitting in Bilbao and waiting to fly home as originally planned.

“No ride today!” Dombrowski said. “We are taking a taxi into Bilbao, getting lunch and seeing something. We might as well make the most out of the day.”

The Tour of Burgos runs through to August 11. Froome headlines Sky’s team in the Colorado stage race on August 19 to 25.

“Ian and I are both looking forward to being back in the States and racing with a team like that, with Froome and Porte,” Dombrowski added. “It’s pretty exciting.”

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