Adam Yates, Egan Bernal and Dani Martínez all escaped major injuries after a large crash in the opening stage of the 2021 Vuelta a Burgos, but still could potentially jeopardise their Vuelta a España chances.
The Ineos Grenadiers leaders were being kept close to the front of the peloton for much of the race but were still unfortunately caught out by a crash that happened when they were in the second group on the road with 19km to go.
The riders are all expected to be heading to the Vuelta in just a few weeks time, so the timing of this crash is not good. The British registered team will be hoping that the injuries aren't too severe and that they can potentially focus on the GC with other riders like Pavel Sivakov in Burgos before reverting back to Yates and Bernal for the Vuelta.
In a team statement, Ineos Grenadiers said: "The three riders [Bernal, Yates and Martínez] had been part of the second group on the road when a large crash took down a number of riders with 19 kilometres to go. The trio were assessed at the roadside before continuing at their own pace to the finish, with Carlos Rodriguez also waiting at the scene for his teammates.
"Bernal, Yates and Martinez suffered contusions and abrasions in the crash and after a post-stage assessment, will be monitored by the Ineos Grenadiers medical team ahead of Wednesday’s stage."
It did look like Ineos could still get something out of the opening stage though with Sivakov, along with Jhonatan Narváez, making it into a select group of leading riders. But they were caught inside the final four kilometres with Edward Planckaert (Alpecin-Fenix) out-sprinting Movistar's Gonzalo Serrano to stage victory.
Ineos will be hoping to use Burgos as a chance to build form and bounce back from what, by their standards, was another relatively disappointing Tour de France despite getting third overall with Richard Carapaz.
The Vuelta team is expected to be packed with climbing talent with Bernal hoping to complete his Grand Tour set and win the Vuelta after winning the Giro d'Italia earlier in the year. Yates will make his Grand Tour debut for Ineos, while Martínez, Sivakov as well as Carapaz, and Olympic cross-country mountain bike champion Tom Pidcock are all currently down to ride.
The Vuelta a España 2021 is due to start with a prologue in Burgos on August 14 and will run for three testing weeks over hellishly steep mountains before a time trial finish in Santiago de Compostela on September 5.
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