Geraint Thomas escapes injury after late crash at Giro d’Italia: ‘Just a stupid mistake’

Geraint Thomas had coped well with the toughest part of the day, the sudden increase in pace on the climb of Cima Sappada. However, a moment’s lapse in concentration nearly cost him dearly in the finale of stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia.

The steady rain and rugged terrain didn’t seem to trouble the pink jersey group much throughout the afternoon in Friuli. But, with just under 6km to go, Thomas experienced a scare when he clipped the rear wheel of Antonio Tiberi from Bahrain Victorious, sending him sprawling to the ground. Although Thomas quickly got back on his feet, he had to wait a bit longer for a replacement bike from the Ineos team car.

“Luckily, I got the spare bike straight away, and the Bora car was good actually; they gave me a bit of draft up to the group again,” Thomas recounted. He added, “When it happened, I just said on the radio, ‘I need a new bike.’ It felt like the car was miles behind, but it was only a few seconds in the end, so I was straight back on.”

The pink jersey group didn’t take advantage of Thomas’s misfortune; instead, they stalled, and even the Bora-Hansgrohe team car helped him pace back on. He remains third overall after safely finishing with his podium rivals, just over 15 minutes behind the day’s winner, Andrea Vendrame from Decathlon-AG2R.

Thomas’s Giro challenges in 2017 and 2020 ended early due to injuries from heavy crashes, but this time he escaped relatively unscathed. Downplaying the severity of his wounds, which appeared limited to a cut on his left elbow, Thomas said, “That’s just new skin from old crashes: after 18 years as a pro, you have a few of them. It was just a stupid mistake.”

When the route of this Giro was first revealed last October, Friday’s leg through the Carnic Alps seemed like it could shake up the general classification contenders. However, the already significant time gaps set by leader Tadej Pogačar from UAE Team Emirates meant there was little chance of movement among the GC contenders. Only Movistar’s Einer Rubio briefly tested the waters on the climb to Cima Sappada.

“Obviously, we were just ready for everything,” Thomas said, reflecting on Movistar’s efforts. “It was a bit of a surprise, but obviously, when they came, it was about staying in the wheel and getting over it as best as possible.”

Thomas remains third overall, 8:04 behind the unassailable Pogačar and 22 seconds behind his former teammate Daniel Martínez. With just the final stage in Rome to follow, Saturday’s penultimate stage, featuring twin ascents of Monte Grappa, presents the last chance for Thomas to move up in the standings.

“Today went kind of how we thought, really. I was hoping the rain would hold off, but it didn’t,” Thomas said. “But it’s a big, big day tomorrow,” he added before heading towards the Ineos bus.