Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) says he is not to blame for Primož Roglič's crash on stage three of the Tour de France 2021.
The Jumbo-Visma rider hit the ground hard in the final 10km of the stage, ripping his shorts and jersey and looking battered and bloodied by the end of the stage. Roglič finished 1-21 down on stage winner Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) because of the crash, but more importantly, sits 56 seconds down on last year's winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and 1-04 down on Ineos Grenadiers' Richard Carapaz.
After the stage Roglič's team appeared to point the finger towards Colbrelli for causing the crash, the Italian champion next to him and gesticulating towards the fallen Roglič after the riders came together.
Colbrelli, who finished fifth on the stage, said although he was sorry to see Roglič crash, the incident was "unfortunate" and that he didn't believe he was to blame, explaining that the pairs' handlebars caught together as the Slovenian tried to move up the bunch.
"Obviously, you never like to see anyone crash in a bike race," Colbrelli said. "The crash with Roglič was unfortunate. The bunch was moving from left to right on the narrow roads in the finale of the stage.
"Roglič came from behind me to move up, and our handlebars got caught together, which almost pulled us both to the ground. It was only luck that I remained up on the bike. My reaction after the crash was more out of fear than anything else.
"I'm really sorry for Roglič, and wish it didn't happen, but I don't believe I'm to blame."
Roglič has since been cleared of serious injury, with scans showing he had not broken any bones, meaning he should be clear to begin stage four on Tuesday.
"Luckily, I think everything is still in one piece so nothing is broken," Roglič said after the stage.
"I’m all open all around but let’s say it was not the best day for us. But we go on. Still we can continue."
Colbrelli's team-mate Jack Haig did not get as lucky as Roglič. The Australian, who was aiming for a high GC placing at the Tour, crashed in the latter part of the stage and was forced to abandon. He will now spend the night in hospital with concussion and a broken left collarbone, but he did not suffer any head trauma his team said.
Stage three was blighted with crashes; Robert Gesink (Jumbo-Visma) was forced to abandon after crashing with Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) early on in the stage. The Welshman escaped without breaking any bones but did dislocate his shoulder, however was able to finish the stage.
Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) was another high-profile abandon after crashing with Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) in the final few hundred metres, fracturing his collarbone.
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