Sky and Orica-GreenEdge closed down the last-ditch escapes today in Frosinone to lead out their sprinters in Giro d'Italia stage nine, but it all finished on the floor. The sprinters, going at full-speed, were unable to negotiate a 100-degree left-hand corner with 350 metres remaining.
It's hard to tell what happened as the TV didn't catch the initial contact between Orica's Matt Goss and, from behind, Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini). Mark Cavendish (Sky) banged into the debris and couldn't continue his sprint.
Cavendish and Goss refrained from commenting on the crash. Pozzato put the blame on Goss and asked for forgiveness in causing those behind to crash.
"I tried to take the curve in the best position possible, behind Goss and his team-mate [Daryl Impey] with 350 metres to go. A perfect place," Pozzato said, cut on his right side and bleeding from the crash. "I don't know if Goss wanted to take the corner wider because his team-mate took it hard or if he wanted to be sneaky, brake and create a gap for his team-mate. I went in [to him] at full speed."
Cavendish later wrote on Twitter, "Another sprint chance gone due to a crash. Got to the point of just shrugging my shoulders now."
He, Nikolas Maes (OmegaPharma-QuickStep), Tomasz Marczynski (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Saxo Bank's Haedo brothers, Juan José and Lucas Sebastian, were among the victims.
"I want to say sorry," added Pozzato. "Frankly, though, he [Goss] braked. He tried to be sneaky."
They raced down Via Marittima to take the corner onto Viale Europa, crucial to the win with the line only 350 metres later.
"I knew it was an ugly corner, Luca [Scinto] said 300 metres ahead of time to remember that the curve closes down and is bad. Ahh, in the end, we went down. I'm sorry and ask for forgiveness for everyone else who crashed."
Orica sports director, Matt White put the blame on Pozzato.
"Pozzato made a mistake and hit Gossy," White said. "I'm sure it wasn't deliberate. It's sprinting. It's the stress of the final corner."
Francisco José Ventoso (Movistar) made the most of the crash to win the stage, Spain's first this year.
Giro d'Italia 2012: Latest news
Hesjedal has tough day as Giro leader
Schleck building form in Giro for final week in Alps
English speakers on top
Giro favourites to make move in first mountain finish
Malori will relish time in Giro lead
Sky's Giro team time trial disappointment
Phinney's terrible day sees Giro lead slip away
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
Giro d'Italia 2012: Live coverage
Giro d'Italia 2012 live text coverage schedule
Giro d'Italia 2012: Stage reports
Stage nine: Ventoso wins in Frosinone as Goss and Cavendish fall
Stage eight: Pozzovivo takes another Giro win
Stage seven: Hesjedal moves into Giro lead
Stage six: Rubiano solos to epic Giro stage win
Stage five: Cavendish bounces back for another stage win
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 nine photo gallery
Stage eight photo gallery
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
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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