FOLIGNO, Italy (VN) — Michele Scarponi walked around slowly on Friday morning, ahead of the seventh stage of the Giro d’Italia, and made a face at the mention of the BMC Racing team.
On Thursday, Scarponi crashed with around 60 other cyclists as a small nine-man group, led by BMC with Cadel Evans, sped away.
“BMC evidently was not aware of the big crash, even if I have a hard time believing that, because they were in such a small group,” Scarponi told VeloNews. “Who knows, maybe they didn’t turn back, and they thought that we were all there, on their wheels.”
Scarponi sat in team Astana’s team car ahead of Friday’s stage. He talked about Thursday’s stage to Montecassino, where a crash at the base of the climb 11.2 kilometers from the finish cost many riders. He lost 1:37, meaning that he sits 2:07 behind Evans, the best-placed classification rider.
Evans gained 49 seconds, plus four more in bonus, on Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Urán, and even more on Scarponi, who finished further back.
“It was a confusing moment for everyone. I restarted after suffering a bad bang. I didn’t know where my teammates where, if they were behind or ahead,” Scarponi added. “I limited my losses in the end. If I was able to re-start right away, then maybe I could’ve arrived in Quintana’s group. I had to force it to get where I was, getting through the cars from the crash to the top. It was a big energy output, I couldn’t recover anything because the pace was high. I’m upset, but I know that it could’ve been worse.”
Many other were worse off. Scarponi’s teammate Janez Brajkovic abandoned with a fractured right elbow. Brajkovic told VeloNews this morning that he is travelling back to Slovenia for surgery.
Katusha’s team suffered the worst, losing its overall leader Joaquím Rodríguez, along with Ángel Vicioso and Giampaolo Caruso.
“I don’t know who was the first to go down, but we would’ve gone down regardless of who it was,” Scarponi said. “You can’t put responsibility on person or one team, or the road or the rain. Simply put, there was nervousness because we all wanted to be at the front before the last climb. We all wanted to stay up front and we crashed.
“Things like that happen. It was a big crash, clearly. Entire teams were on the ground, one was my team. Brajkovic came off the worst.”
Evans, the 2011 Tour de France winner, placed third overall last year. With 57 seconds over his nearest rival Urán, Scarponi explained that the Australian has a good start to winning the Giro d’Italia.
“He could’ve already won if he was on equal time with us, but now he has an advantage, and Rodríguez is gone,” Scarponi said. “We are talking now, right after the crash and ahead of the mountains, so the Giro could take on a thousand different forms. However, Evans is a champion and he has a good lead already. It’s not going to be easy to recover all of that advantage.”