Thursday, June 8, 2023

Ackermann takes eleventh stage of the Giro, Geoghegan Hart goes home

Accustomed to suffering and pain in an often brutal sport, cyclists get a double helpings at this Giro. With inclement weather, the Italian race has been transformed into a mobile field hospital that doesn’t stop filling up every day, as falls and illnesses mount.

Arriving midway through the race, 36 riders had already dropped out and given the state of the peloton, which continues to be at risk of Covid-19 and with several riders suffering from digestive problems, it would not be surprising if 28 Record of absence upon arrival in Rome on May.

Belgian team Soudal-Quick Step, which saw Remko Evenpoel forced to quit on Sunday night, just hours after winning the time trial and wearing the pink, has once again faced the ravages of the coronavirus with four new withdrawals ( Jan Hurt, Joseph) Cerny, Louis Verweke and Matteo Cattane).

Italians Andrea Vendramé (AG2R-Citroën) and Stefano Gandin (Corratec) also had to pull out, increasing the list of cyclists who have missed the race due to Covid-19 to fifteen.

“The atmosphere in the team is below zero. We only have three riders left, it’s really sad,” commented Pieter Serry, one of the survivors of the Belgian formation, for whom the Giro was becoming endless. Used to be.

However on a sporting level, the big victim of the day was another team: Ineos. All was smiling on the mighty British formation… until this Wednesday. He started the podium with five riders in the top eleven overall, including leader Geraint Thomas. And he was about to lose everything in a day without history.

Evacuated by ambulance

With 68 km to go in Tortona, UAE’s Alessandro Covi crashed on the rain-soaked road and took out half of the Ineos team along with Geraint Thomas as well as Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo–Visma).

The ‘pink jersey’ after the return of Evenpoel and the main contender for victory in Rome was able to resume the march without apparent physical damage, but not so for Tao Geoghegan Hart (who finished five seconds behind Thomas overall). He was left lying on the ground before being placed on a stretcher and taken out of an ambulance.

“(Tao) was right behind him (De Cowie) and took everyone out, but it’s not his fault,” Thomas explained. “I was lucky, I fell on him. But Tao has done a lot of damage. I hope nothing is broken. It’s a big loss for us. He was in fantastic shape and he was our secret weapon.”

Earlier in the night, Ineos revealed via a statement that Geoghegan Hart had suffered a fracture of his left hip, which would require surgery.

A few kilometers later, it was Movistar’s Oscar Rodríguez, who crashed into a pole in the umpteenth accident of this Giro.

The abandonment of Geoghegan Hart, the only remaining Giro winner in the race, dealt a hard blow to Ineos and Thomas, who had thought the team had the strength to beat Roglic.

Even more so when Russian Pavel Shivkov (eighth overall at the start of the day) was also involved in a crash and lost several minutes.

Amidst so much misfortune this Wednesday there was one happy man: Pascal Ackermann. The sprinter prevailed in a tight sprint in a small group over Italian Jonathan Milan (Bahrain) and British Mark Cavendish (Astana).

“It’s been fair, but I’m very happy”, declared the winner of the day.

As he celebrated on the podium, the rest of the peloton was more concerned with healing his injuries and praying for Covid’s passing.

“And to think we haven’t tackled the mountain yet…”, Australian Sinom Clarke sighs.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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