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"The left side of my body is covered with abrasions and his hip hurts. The physiotherapist will have to work hard to get me back" Niemiec says

Photo: Sirotti

DAMIANO CUNEGO

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DIEGO ULISSI

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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PRZEMYSLAW NIEMIEC

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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15.05.2014 @ 20:04 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After yesterday's big stage win for Diego Ulissi, Lampre-Merida hoped to make it two in a row in another stage that suited their punchy rider perfectly. However, it all ended as a very bad day for the Italian team as both GC riders Przemyslaw Niemiec and Damiano Cunego hit the deck and lost time to most of their rivals.

 

Yesterday Lampre-Merida enjoyed the most beautiful day of their season when Diego Ulissi took a marvellous stage victory in Viggiano. Today the fortunes had completely changed for the Italians when they - like most other teams - had a disastrous day in the Italian grand tour.

 

Both GC riders Damiano Cunego and Przemyslaw Niemiec hit the deck and had to chase hard to rejoin the group of favourites. The former made the junction but as he had to stop to fix his bike, he ended up losing 40 seconds to the likes of Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Uran. The latter never made contact and lost 1.08 to the big group of favourites.

 

"I rode in the top positions and suddenly I found myself on the ground," Cunego said. "Despite having hurt my knee, I was back on my bike immediately, making a considerable effort to rejoin the first chase group. Unfortunately, the chain had been hit in the crash and I had to stop to fix it."

 

Niemiec was more seriously hurt as he suffered a severe contusion to his left hip.

 

"The left side of my body is covered with abrasions and his hip hurts," he said. "The physiotherapist will have to work hard to get me back. After the crash I was able to get back in the race thanks to the alertness of my teammate Cattaneo who gave me his bike. I reached the finish due to his attentiveness."

 

Sprinter Roberto Ferrari and Jan Polanc also hit the deck, with the former hurting the finger and the latter escaping any injuries.

 

Ulissi avoided the crash but didn't make it into the lead group that ended up deciding the stage.

 

"Obviously, the frustration of having lost another good opportunity is only made worse by the fact that so many riders and teammates were involved in a nasty crash," he said. "I was fine today. I would have achieved another good result. 

 

"I avoided ending up on the ground, but I could not join the front group who set at a fast pace immediately after the incident. At that point, only Quintana's teammates - he had also crashed - tried to bring it back but now the gap was too big. On such a fast climb so fast, it was impossible to try to bridge across on my own."

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