Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) lost the race lead at the Giro d'Italia today in Verona, Italy, at the end of a 33.2-kilometre team time trial. A crash, the same that involved Mark Cavendish (Sky) two days ago, sapped his strength and sprained his ankle.
"I just had like THE worst day on the bike today," he told Cycling Weekly. "I don't really know what that's from, if it's a combination of the ankle and trying to recover. I don't really know. I'm pretty sad to lose the jersey, especially in that way."
Phinney only found out in the small hours of Tuesday that he could continue in the Giro d'Italia. He took the race lead on Saturday in Herning, but crashed down and crossed the line in an ambulance on Monday. Due to the rules regarding crashes in the last three kilometres, he kept the jersey and enjoyed the podium presentation. However, he had to rush to travel back with the other Giro cyclists on a chartered flight to Verona and head straight to the hospital.
Shortly after midnight, he found out he was clear to continue, but needed stitches and a lot of wrapping. Even with a rest day yesterday, he rode below par today.
"I would've liked to put up more of a fight," he explained. "I felt like I was just dragging the team down with me."
BMC Racing placed 10th, 31 seconds behind time trial specialists, Garmin-Barracuda. The time loss saw Phinney's pink jersey go to Garmin's Ramunas Navardauskas.
Besides fighting to save his lead, he fought to stay on track. Phinney overshot a right-hander, rode through the grass and, 10 metres later, back on the road. Grass dangled from his shoe and rear derailleur.
"I felt like I was fine on that corner, but Thor [Hushovd] takes the corners pretty fast," Phinney said. "I found myself on the outside of the wheel in front of me and I just got kind of pushed off the road. I thought I was going to do a big somersault. I miraculously held it up."
Phinney looked down at his right ankle, thankful he'd just made it through the day after Monday's crash.
"I'm happy I can pedal my bike. If you look at my foot, it doesn't give a lot of confidence. It's completely black and blue and fully swollen. But I managed to tape it up nicely and ride, and put down some power, but still I just had a terrible day."
Giro d'Italia 2012: Latest news
Teams ready for Giro's team time trial
Phinney given all-clear after Giro crash
Ferrari should be ashamed of Giro sprint, says Cavendish
Giro remembers Wouter Weylandt
Cavendish and Thomas a winning combo, says Brailsford
Geraint Thomas narrowly misses out on Giro lead
Phinney realises Giro dream
Thomas and Phinney talk Giro d'Italia time trial
Kennaugh enters Giro with least amount of racing miles
Cavendish faces first Grand Tour as World Champ and father
Frank Schleck's last minute Giro adventure
Swift out of Giro after training crash
Giro d'Italia 2012: Who will win?
Sky to battle for Giro's team time trial
Hesjedal aims for Giro win
Giro d'Italia 2012: Start list
Cavendish, Thomas, Kennaugh, Swift and Stannard for Giro
Giro d'Italia 2012: Jerseys unveiled
Giro d'Italia organiser announces wildcard teams for 2012
Giro d'Italia 2012 route revealed
Giro d'Italia 2012: Live coverage
Giro d'Italia 2012 live text coverage schedule
Giro d'Italia 2012: Stage reports
Stage four: Garmin-Barracuda win TTT to take lead
Stage three: Goss wins in Horsens as Cavendish and Phinney crash
Stage two: Cavendish wins in Herning
Stage one: Phinney wins time trial
Giro d'Italia 2012: Photo galleries
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery
Giro d'Italia 2012: Teams and riders
Giro d'Italia 2012 start list
Giro d'Italia 2012: TV guide
Giro d'Italia 2012: British Eurosport TV schedule
Giro d'Italia 2012: The Big Preview
Cycling Weekly's Giro d'Italia section
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