Leopard-Trek’s Italian sprinter Daniele Bennati has been ruled out of the Giro d’Italia after breaking ribs and a collarbone in a crash at the first stage of the Tour de Romandie Wednesday.
Bennati crashed early in the first stage, won by Russian Pavel Brutt, sustaining multiple fractures, according to his team.
“Bennati was taken to hospital where tests confirmed a broken collarbone, four broken ribs and a bruised lung,” a team statement said Wednesday.
“With multiple fractures in his right-hand-side collarbone, Bennati will require an operation to allow the bone to heal properly and probably four to six weeks to come back to racing.”
The crash occurred as the peloton traveled through Roche en route to the stage end in Leysin, and has dented Leopard’s ambitions for stage wins from the bunch sprints at the three-week Giro, which begins May 7.
“This is bad news, as is any crash,” said Team Manager Kim Andersen.
“But this one is particularly bad news for us because Daniele was in great shape, and he would have been our main card to play in the Giro d’Italia for stage wins. He was really looking forward to the race.”
Leopard said losing Bennati means focusing on “new goals and plans” for the race.
“We still have to determine how to reshape the roster for the Giro now that Daniele is out,” said Andersen. “I’m confident we will find a way to turn this misfortune into an opportunity to approach the stages in a different way. We have no other choice.”