The 2018 Tour de France winner and favourite for this year’s Giro crashed heavily on stage 3 to the summit of Mount Etna when a bidon became caught under his wheels in the neutralized start. The Welshman lost his balance and crashed heavily on his left-hand-side.
Initially, it looked as though Thomas, 34, would contest the first summit finish of this year’s Giro d’Italia but he was dropped with 30km remaining in the stage and would go on to finish over 12 minutes down, with his GC aspirations completely over.
On Monday night, he was taken to hospital for the first round of x-rays, with the medical team at Ineos Grenadiers stating that the Welshman had not sustained any fractures. The team, however, were cautious to add that Thomas would be assessed once more on Tuesday morning.
Those checks were completed this morning, with Thomas again undergoing more X-rays, which this time did reveal a fracture in his pelvis.
“Geraint had an MRI and a CT scan this morning which revealed a small undisplaced fracture in the lower part of the pelvis which wasn’t picked up on the X-rays yesterday,” said team doctor Phil Riley. “As a precaution he will be withdrawn from the race as it’s an injury that could easily be aggravated.”
Thomas had been keen to continue in the Giro on Tuesday, and his bike was even set up outside the team bus in Catania and placed on a static trainer, indicating he would warm up ahead of stage 4. However, at 11:30 CET the team confirmed Thomas would not start stage 4.
“It’s so frustrating,” Thomas said. “I’d put so much work in to this race. I did everything I could and feel like I was in just as good, if not better shape, than when I won the Tour. I was feeling really good. So for it just to end like this is gutting.
“I was really up for starting today. I woke up and wanted to start with the boys and at least help them go for stages over the next few days, but deep down I knew something wasn’t right, so we went to get these extra scans. It does make the decision easier when there’s a fracture in some ways, because obviously I don’t want to do anymore damage.”
The news of Thomas leaving the race will likely mean an end to his 2020 campaign. He had originally been slated for the Tour de France in August and September but a lack of form at the Critérium du Dauphiné saw the team remove him from the Tour de France long-list and pencil him in for the Giro d’Italia. He looked to be on track with second place in Tirreno-Adriatico behind Simon Yates and then fourth in the time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Italy.
He was fourth again in the opening time trial at the Giro d’Italia and came into stage 3 third overall and as one of the main contenders for the maglia rosa.
This is not the first time Thomas has been forced out of the Giro through injury. In 2017 he and then teammate Mikel Landa rode into a poorly parked motorbike, with Thomas pulling out of the race several days later due to his injuries.
‘Dangerous to race’
In Catania on Tuesday morning, Ineos Grenadiers director Matteo Tosatto spoke to Cyclingnews’ European Editor Barry Ryan about Thomas’ condition.
“Geraint woke up this morning and was able to walk far better than he could last night but still had some pain, so we decided to some extra scans in hospital. An x-ray didn’t show it but he’s got a small fracture in his pelvis. He can walk and could even ride his bike but it’d be dangerous to race,” said the Italian.
“When Geraint crashed he’d seemed to hurt himself but he got going again. We knew he’d suffered a big blow but moved up to the front of the peloton and we were hopeful he could limit any losses. But when they began to go hard, he had a lot of pain in his leg.
“His goal was win the Giro and so it was a blow to his moral when he lost 12 minutes. But life goes and and we’ve got to stay strong and think of the future. We started the Giro d’Italia aiming to win it and he showed he was on great form in the opening time trial. Sadly that’s cycling. There are moments of joy, sadness, celebration and pain.”