Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) was among riders caught up in a big crash during the early stages of Stage 9 at the Giro d’Italia.
The Spaniard, who started Sunday’s five-star stage ninth in the general classification, was one of six riders upended by the innocuous incident in the middle of the peloton.
Jorge Arcas (Movistar) was also caught up in the crash on the run from Isernia to Blockhaus, a day after being involved in the four-up sprint in Saturday’s finish in Naples.
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“It’s a blow if Bilbao has to take time to get back on or he’s injured because we’ve seen the form he’s in,” said Eurosport commentator Adam Blythe, who branded it a “big crash”.
“Brilliant in the Tour of the Alps and if he’s injured it’s going to be a blow for the team.”
Bilbao is expected to battle with Mikel Landa for Bahrain Victorious leadership duties at the Giro. Bilbao was 2'00" off pacesetter Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) prior to Sunday's start, with Landa in 13th and 2'15" off the pace.
A double ascent of the fearsome Blockhaus, including the tougher side of the climb on the grind to the finish, was expected to inject some much-needed spice into the battle for pink.
Maxing out at 14%, with an average gradient of over 8% from top to bottom, the Blockhaus will leave riders wanting to "to strap a rocket onto their bums”, according to Blythe.
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