There was a near miss on Stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia as Einer Rubio Reyes swiftly darted past an official flagging up a central column of a bridge on Thursday.
The 104th edition of the Giro lost both Mikel Landa and Pavel Sivakov on Wednesday's Stage 5, victims of two separate and equally nasty falls in a hectic finale which race leader Alessandro De Marchi later described as a “crazy circus”.
Thursday marked the first real uphill finish of the race and it was one which had promised to have Landa playing an important role. But with the Bahrain-Victorious rider, along with Sivakov, unable to participate further after his crash, there was naturally some trepidation with any close shaves a day later.
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As a result, when Rubio Reyes and Ruben Guerreiro had to split paths to hastily zip around an official clutching a red flag to alarm the pair about an upcoming central column for a bridge overhead, it must have prompted a collective gasp.
Rob Hatch, on commentary for Eurosport at the time, summed up the feeling as the pair darted around the official and column with Rubio Reyes, in particular, appearing to be somewhat unprepared for the hazard which he only just avoided.
"Oi, oi, oi! We don't need more of that after yesterday!" exclaimed Hatch on commentary.
Indeed, after Wednesday's unfortunate drama, everyone simply wanted a safe Stage 6 on the 177km route from Modena to Cattolica.
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Team Bahrain Victorious confirmed late on Wednesday evening that Landa had suffered a broken collarbone and multiple broken ribs on his left side after being sent to Riccione Hospital.
"Landa will spend the night in the hospital under observation and undergo further investigation," the team said. "Landa remained conscious throughout and is in good spirits to get back on the bike as soon as possible."
The Spaniard was hoping to build on an impressive showing in the hills on Tuesday but was caught up in a three-man crash also involving Stage 4 winner Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates). Mountains classification leader Dombrowski was also taken to hospital on a stretcher.
The incident came just minutes after Sivakov had crashed into a tree with 16km remaining before gingerly returning to his bike. Ineos later confirmed that Sivakov had abandoned the race.
‘A real disaster’ – Ineos joint-leader Pavel Sivakov crashes into tree
Dombrowski caught a signaller stationed in front of an obstruction, causing Landa and Francois Bidard to also hit the tarmac. Dombrowski and Bidard eventually finished the stage, while the marshal was seen getting back to his feet.
GC leader Alessandro De Marchi branded the finale a "crazy circus".
The road was really difficult and technical, maybe even too dangerous in my opinion. In the last 70km there was a lot of stress.
The first mountain finish of the Giro on Thursday brings two climbs preceding the final rise to San Giacomo, above the town of Ascoli Piceno, with a total of 3,627 metres of climbing.
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