By Gregor Brown
Tao Geoghegan Hart "can come back stronger" after crashing twice and losing almost 90 seconds in the Giro d'Italia's third stage to Orbetello.
The Team Ineos Londoner, riding in his first Giro, fell around Grosseto in the final 50 kilometres and then, after chasing back on, came down in second crash just under five kilometres from the line.
Crucial for him, the second crash was outside the three-kilometre safe zone.
Geoghegan Hart, who is one of Ineos' two leaders, slipped from seventh to 57th overall as Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) held onto his race lead.
"You have to think about last year with Chris Froome," Ineos Sports Director Nicolas Portal said.
"He did not lose his mind with the problems in the Giro. And then stage one of the Tour de France, he had a bad puncture, then he crashed and lost some time, and still finished third on the podium.
"Three weeks is a long race. These guys are super strong men and they are learning from the others and are quite tough. You will be a little bit disappointed in this moment but you would use this to be even more stronger in the end."
Geoghegan Hart, 24, arrived to the bus with blood on his knee and his black and burgundy kit shredded on his back and both hips. He showered and met with the doctor, and was unavailable to comment. The team said later he suffered no fractures.
"The first crash I do not know what happened because we did not talk about it because it was quite fast. He changed his bike and then in the second one we still don't know what happened," Portal continued.
"Yes there were two issues. In the first one definitely a crash because we could see his knee and everything, and then in the second one he was already on the bike when we saw him, but I know that he touched his foot on the ground.
"Sometimes you avoid it and go in the field and sometimes you end up crashing, twice. It's part of the game and part of the things they need to learn. He's going to be quite disappointed."
The race covered a massive 220 kilometres today in strong winds from Vinci to the south of Tuscany at Orbetello. However, the 2019 Giro still has many more kilometres remaining in its three weeks.
"For sure there will be other opportunities because this is a three-week race. It's a one-minute 30-second loss and that's not much in the end. When you play for the overall you have to go through all the stages and in the first stages you have these tricky finishes," said Portal.
"The first week is quite hard for the overall race contenders. Especially this race because there are 10 days or so they're quite tricky before the mountains. Vincenzo Nibali said the other day that this race is going to be a hard one and we see the everyday becomes harder and harder. The second week is clearly mountains, and the third week is terrible. I think for everyone if you can stay consistent then you can make a good GC."
Team doctor Derick Macloed said: "Tao fell twice - the first time he suffered an abrasion to his right knee, then when he fell towards the end of the stage he suffered multiple abrasions and he’s been patched up and he will start recovering now.
“There’s no head injury and nothing to indicate anything is broken. It could have been a lot worse.”
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