DUBLIN, Ireland (VN) — Team Garmin-Sharp is looking ahead after Giro d’Italia overall hopeful Dan Martin crashed and abandoned with a broken collarbone on Friday.
The plan: sprint with Tyler Farrar and help Ryder Hesjedal win a second title.
“Maybe there will be an advantage around the corner, around that dark cloud over there,” sports director Charly Wegelius told VeloNews.
Martin crashed in the Giro’s opening team time trial. The Irishman took out Koldo Fernández, Andre Cardoso and Nathan Haas. Along with Martin, Fernández broke his collarbone and abandoned.
“It happened,” Martin said that night. “What could I do?”
Martin has his right arm in a sling. There is not much more he can do but wait. If he improves enough and it fits in with Garmin’s plans, he will return to race the Tour de France.
Wegelius and the remaining seven cyclists, however, must focus on the task at hand: the Giro d’Italia. They want to win a stage with Farrar — who finished 10th on the next two sprint stages — and time back for Hesjedal.
Hesjedal would not stop when VeloNews asked him for comment Friday but it was clear the crash cost him time. Only four riders remained, including Hesjedal and Farrar, so they had to wait for a fifth, Fabian Wegmann, to catch up. Once they had the five men needed to clock a time, they raced for the line, where they finished three minutes and 26 seconds down on stage winner Orica-GreenEdge.
“That night, I just had to sit back, have a pint of Guinness beer and look at the positives,” Wegelius said. “We still have Ryder, we still have a chance to win the overall and we are not giving up.”
The winner two years ago, Hesjedal was not at the press conference of favorites ahead of the race. He has been quieter and less visible since this winter, when he admitted that he doped more than 10 years ago. The general feeling is that he is building towards the Tour de France and that he began the Giro to support Martin.
The plan quickly changed Friday. Garmin will race to make up its deficit and put Hesjedal on top by June 1 when the race finishes in Trieste.
It will be an uphill battle. Hesjedal, based on pre-season results, is not at the level as Nairo Quintana, Cadel Evans or Joaquím Rodríguez. He also lacks help. Fernández is gone and Nathan Haas is banged and bruised from the team’s tumble in Belfast.
Still, Wegelius has yet to wave the white flag.
“We have to draw the line in the sand. We haven’t lost the Giro, not at all,” Wegelius said.
“The Giro d’Italia is littered with people who lost inordinate amounts of time and gained it back. David Arroyo finished second overall in 2010 thanks to getting in the break in the L’Aquila stage. That wasn’t predicted. Other favorites can lose time and we can gain time. There’s no use in giving up before the end.”