Chris Froome, says Team Sky, could have done without the crash today on the wet roads leading to the Montevergine di Mercogliano summit finish in the Giro d’Italia.
Froome fell on the same right side that he injured in the opening time trial in Jerusalem last week. He bundled up in a black Castelli jacket and descended 11.5 kilometres to the Team Sky bus. His shorts showed a small rip and his knee a two-centimetre patch of fresh blood.
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“Yeah, I think [he’s going better], but he didn’t need that crash today,” sports director Matteo Tosatto said. “We can’t look too far away, just daily, but we are faithful Chris is going to be OK.”
Froome fell with 5.5 kilometres remaining to the summit finish, where Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (Movistar) won. His tyres gave way on the corner soaked from late afternoon showers in Campania.
Last year’s winner Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) collided with Froome, but stayed up right. Wout Poels, nearby, stayed with his Sky captain and immediately paced him back.
“I heard over the race radio, ‘Caduta di Froome.’ He didn’t say anything over the team radio, but the team-mates waited and put him right back in position in the group of favourites,” continued Tosatto.
“He was able to re-enter the group quickly, we knew it was a fast climb and it was going to be important to avoid gaps. They all arrived together, a good group of 20.”
Froome, winner of four editions of the Tour de France, is on a quest to win the Giro d’Italia. He sits ninth overall at 1-10 minutes behind from pink jersey leader and fellow Brit Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).
It is uncertain how the other riders survived the curve but Froome lost control. Froome preferred to recover instead of describing the incident to the press waiting at the bus.
“He didn’t have mechanical problems, which was important for not losing time,” Tosatto said.
“We saw him after the finish, he put on his jacket to stay warm for the descent and seemed OK. He didn’t have any complaints.”
Team boss David Brailsford said that the crash ahead of stage one in training affected Froome’s first few days of racing. Followers will have to watch to see if this latest fall impacts his ride.
“The guys were fantastic,” Froome said in a press release after the stage. “They helped me get straight back into the race – and straight back to the front of the race – within a kilometre.
“It’s never much fun crashing in the final of a race, especially on a hilltop finish, but the roads were really slippery and I just lost my back wheel when I went over a white line accelerating out of the corner.
“I didn’t want to be caught off guard coming into that final, so I think it was the right thing to do, to get back to the front and stay in control of things. I think the guys did a really good job of getting me back up there.
“I’m happy to tick off another day. Tomorrow is going to be a really tough stage.”
Froome and the rest of the Giro d’Italia peloton face their third of eight summit finishes in stage nine to Gran Sasso. The 26.45-kilometre will be even harder since it arrives above 2000 metres.
“Tomorrow will be a repeat of today, photocopy of today,” Tosatto predicted. “A harder finish than today, but let’s see. We know that on today and tomorrow you won’t see big gaps. The race will be in the third week.”