Italian Luca Wackermann has withdrawn from the Giro d’Italia with multiple injuries after a freak crash in Tuesday’s fourth stage caused by a low-flying helicopter.
- Italian rider Luca Wackermann spent a night in hospital after he was injured by a barrier blown into his path at the Giro D’Italia
- French rider Arnaud Demare took stage four in a sprint finish, but Joao Almeida retained the leader’s pink jersey
- 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas was also forced to abandon, a day after being injured in a crash before stage three
The crash, which brought down Wackermann and Dutchman Etienne van Empel of the Vini Zabu-KTM team, happened at the end of the stage when a barrier was blown over by the draft from the helicopter and struck the two riders.
A statement from the Italian team said Wackermann, 28, was concussed in the incident and also received fractured nasal bones, as well as extensive bruising to his face and body.
He also has a suspected back fracture.
“Wackermann will spend the night in the hospital kept under observation and losing that chance to live a dream vanished because of an episode that could have brought some heavier consequences,” the statement added.
Earlier in the day, pre-race favourite Geraint Thomas abandoned the event with a fractured pelvis after hitting an empty water bottle and crashing in the neutral zone on Monday.
“It’s so frustrating,” Thomas said.
“I’d put so much work into this race.
“So for it just to end like this is gutting,” added the 34-year-old Welshman, who claimed the Tour de France title in 2018.
Portugal’s Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) retained the pink jersey and opened a two-second lead over Ecuadorean Jonathan Caicedo after picking up a couple of bonus points in an intermediate sprint 25km from the finish line on stage four.
Frenchman Arnaud Demare edged out Peter Sagan in a bunch sprint to claim victory in the stage, the race’s last day in Sicily.
The last 30km of the 140km stage were flat, offering opportunities for the top sprinters, and it was Demare who powered across the line fractionally ahead of Sagan.
Slovakia’s Sagan had to settle for second place again as he did on stage two. Italian Davide Ballerini was third.