American rider Joe Dombrowski pulled out of the Giro d’Italia before Thursday’s sixth stage, a day after suffering concussion in a crash on his birthday which also forced contender Mikel Landa out of the race. Dombrowski, 30, hit a traffic island in the center of the road and fell into the peloton, 2 miles from the finish of fifth stage in Cattolica. Spaniard Landa and Frenchman Francois Bidard  were also caught in the crash and abandoned the race.

“Unfortunately today I won’t be able to start the Giro,” Dombrowski, sporting a badly bruised left eye, said in a video posted on social media before the start of the sixth stage.

“We did the concussion protocol last night and followed up again this morning and I didn’t pass that, so with the doctors and the team we decided it was not safe for me to start today.”

Examinations carried out at the hospital in Riccione at the end of the stage had not shown any fracture for Dombrowski.

– Joe Dombrowski (USA – UAE Team Emirates) – photo Gianluca Cardini/INBici mag/BettiniPhoto©2021

“Obviously I’m really disappointed,” continued Dombrowski, who won the fourth stage to climb back to second place overall behind race leader Alessandro De Marchi of Italy.

“It was a really dangerous final yesterday,” he explained.

“I just wanted to take the risk to be in front so there was no time gaps because I felt today was a really unique opportunity that maybe I could take the pink jersey.

“It’s not so often you have an opportunity like that.

“Now I’m just going to focus on recovery and head home. We’ll look to see what the next races are. Everything is OK for me and thanks for all the sport.”

Earlier his Team UAE Emirates said “neurophysiological tests revealed a disturbance of balance” which had increased in the morning.

Landa spent the night in hospital before being discharged but will undergo surgery on Friday, his team Bahrain confirmed. The 31-year-old Basque rider, who finished third in the 2015 Giro, broke his collarbone.

Another big name victim of Wednesday’s stage was Russian Pavel Sivakov who hit the deck 10 miles from the finish.

Sivakov, charged with helping his Ineos teammate and 2019 Tour de France winner Egan Bernal in his bid for overall victory, lost over 13 minutes in the general classification and later pulled out of the race with a shoulder injury.


Mikel Landa (ESP – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Gianluca Cardini/INBici mag/BettiniPhoto©2021

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