As the sprint was opening up Mark Cavendish (SKY) was riding fifth wheel with Matt Goss (OGE) at the front. But he had gone for space on the right and a gap developed behind the leading three. Roberto Ferrari (AND) whipped across the road. Despite his best instincts and efforts to try and avoid his rear wheel at that speed Cavendish was clipped by the erratic move and crashed down right in the middle of the road. A following rider, Arnoud Demare (FDJ), just avoiding hitting him in the head, another unable to avoid crashing into this hip and going over the top, and the domino effect carried on.
|Picture via Eurosport|
Another casualty of the crash however, was the winner of the opening time trial and the proud wearer of the maglia rosa (pink jersey) Taylor Phinney (BMC). He had been riding near the head of the race to keep out of trouble but unfortunately he crashed into the barriers on the right hand side and appears to have broken his right ankle and in the most unfortunate of circumstances failed to have crossed the line under his own steam.
While Cavendish got up to carry his broken bike over the finish line the race leader made a sorry sight crossing it in the back of an ambulance for a DNF mere metres from the line. Geraint Thomas (SKY) will have inherited the maglia rosa in the most unfortunate of circumstances.
Roberto Ferrari will almost certainly be relegated to last spot in this race for causing the incident, if not a greater sanction. While Matt Goss goes one better than yesterday to secure Orica GreenEdge their first win the Giro as well a securing the Red Jersey which hung in tatters around the shoulders of the previous days winner as he walked over the line.
Update it appears that Phinney did manage to cross the line himself but his injuries mean he will not be riding after the rest day tomorrow. So Wednesday's race will probably not contain the maglia rosa as is tradition for a fallen leader.
Update 2 As I called it Ferrari has been relegated from crossing the line 10th to last man.
Update 3 Mark Cavendish has since pointed out that other riders, including himself and his lead out with HTC over the last few years Mark Renshaw have been kicked out of races for far less than this sudden swerve and attempted hook of a faster finisher. However, with Ferrari being an Italian racer on an Italian team is is possible that no further sanction than relegation to 192nd on the stage may occur.