Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas appears to have emerged relatively unscathed from a big crash that took down a significant part of the bunch during the final kilometres of the third stage at the Tour of the Basque Country.
The Briton fell with a number of his Sky team-mates, including Michał Kwiatkowski, with Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s stage two winner Julian Alaphilippe and his team-mate Enric Mas also among those affected.
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According to Sky director Gabriel Rasch, the initial prognosis for Thomas and Kwiatkowski is positive.
“G and Kwiato are OK, they’ve just lost the time on GC,” Rasch told Cycling Weekly at the finish. “They fell pretty hard, but they look OK now. For sure, they will both start tomorrow. The team doctor sees them every night and every morning so they’ll get checked over before then.”
The news was not so good, though, for Sky’s Jonathan Castroviejo, who was one of several riders who received treatment for several minutes after the crash.
“Castro is the worst affected and is on his way to the hospital. It could be a collarbone, a shoulder or just the impact of the crash. We don’t know yet,” said Rasch, who didn’t know what had caused the impact in the first place.
“The last 10k were very open. We knew it was going to be like that and so did everyone else, so everyone wanted to be at the front in case the wind had an impact,” he explained.
“The road also narrowed a lot with about 5k to go and that was another reason to be towards the front. I don’t think there was any special reason for the crash. There wasn’t anything in the road or anything like that, it was just one of those unlucky ones that happens.
“The road was three or four lanes wide where it happened. The guys were all together and ready to move up before that narrower section with 5k to go. That’s why they all went down together. I don’t think there was anything wrong with their position. Alaphilippe also went down because he was in the same position. It was just unlucky.”
Alaphilippe and Mas also finished, the Frenchman with an extensive wound on his hip.
“We don’t think he has broken anything,” said Deceuninck-Quick-Step directeur sportif Klaas Lodewyck.
“The main goal for us was to put him on the bike and get him to the finish line. Now the doctor will look into what could be wrong and then we’ll see tomorrow morning how he feels and decide what we’ll do.”
Lodewyck said the team’s main concern is Alaphilippe’s condition with a view to the upcoming Ardennes Classics, for which he is the outstanding favourite given his outstanding form this season.
“That he has made it to the finish on the bike is already a good thing, but now we just need to be sure because the Ardennes, our big goals, are coming up.
“It’s hard to tell what happened,” Lodewyck added. “The guys were all in a good position in front and suddenly the peloton swings from the right side to the left side. [Enric] Mas told us a guy tried to get in between and pushed too hard and his front wheel went away and, boom, there he goes.”