Race leader Annemiek van Vleuten and Australian champion Amanda Spratt were both caught up in a crash in the finale to stage seven of the Giro Rosa.
The pair made it into a select lead group which looked set to contest the finish until the crash saw both riders go down. Both Spratt and Van Vleuten were able to finish the stage but have been taken to hospital to have their injuries further evaluated.
Unlike the previous days, a breakaway was allowed to head down the road inside the opening kilometres on the outskirts of Nola. The peloton looked more than happy to see the two riders edge away as the pair went on to establish a maximum advantage of 4’40” over the bunch.
The pack soon upped the pace and began to whittle the time gap down before three riders attacked with the hope of bridging across to the leaders. The trio eventually made it across the gap to make a group of five as the finishing circuit approached.
The gap was 2’20” as the peloton crossed the line for the first of the two finishing loops, with Australian Sarah Roy leading the chase at the head of the bunch. An attack in the leading group of five over the top of the climb then left just one rider out front with a gap of just over one minute as the pack crossed the line for the second time.
The lone leader was the reeled in on the final ascent of the climb as attacks were launched over the top. The action saw a small select group go clear with both Van Vleuten and Spratt amongst them as they raced towards the uphill drag to the finish line.
The group then swelled in size as the stage looked set for a reduced bunch sprint before disaster struck when a crash took Van Vleuten and Spratt down in the closing kilometres. Both riders crossed the line but were taken to hospital to have their injuries assessed, further updates will be given when facts are available.
Andrew Smith (Sports Director):
“The stage was going well for us, the breakaway went away early before it eventually came back on the final final lap. There were some attacks over the last climb and we had Annemiek and Spratty in the small group off the front.
“Then unfortunately they both came down in a crash inside the final kilometre and have been taken to hospital for scans on their injuries.”
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.