Orica-Scott was in with numbers and a chance in the final 20km of the Giro dell’Emila on Saturday, but crashes from Adam Yates and the defending champion Esteban Chaves left Jack Haig to soldier on alone in the lead group and eventually finish ninth.
The team said later that Yates was OK and Chaves also appeared to have avoided serious injuries, although the Colombian went to hospital for X-rays.
Yates, Chaves and Haig all made the select lead group after the reduced peloton brought back the day’s breakaway, but disaster struck when Yates slipped out in a sharp descent and was forced to abandon.
Chaves crashed out in the final 10km while chasing solo leader and eventual winner Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida), leaving Tour of Poland winner Haig as the last-man standing in the lead group for the Australian team.
“The race was going really well for us up until the last couple of circuits,” said sport director Dave McPartland. “We had good numbers within the favourites group, and it’s unfortunate that we lost our two leaders, Adam and Esteban, to crashes. It is bad luck, but also a part of cycling.”
The 223km race started in Bologna and finished in San Luca after several hilly closing circuits that suited the pure climbers. The breakaway, which had been allowed an ultimate gap of eight minutes, was finally brought back with two laps remaining as attacks in the field behind steadily whittled the field down to a handful of contenders.
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