It’s been a harrowing couple of days of racing in Denmark, as the Giro d’Italia wraps up its first few stages abroad and heads south for some Italian sunshine.
The end of the Sunday's 206-kilometer Stage Two turned into chaos when a pileup just eight kilometers from the finish threatened to steal the overall lead away from American Taylor Phinney. After falling and losing his chain, Phinney found himself 38 seconds off the pace, but regained 20 seconds in two kilometers of frantic navigating through team cars to catch up to the pack. Eventually, three of his BMC teammates fell back to help him catch on and claim the maglia rosa jersey.
Then, on Monday’s 190-kilometer Stage Three, Roberto Ferrari (Team Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) swerved wildly in the final 100 meters of the race and took out the front wheel of world champ Mark Cavendish (Team Sky), setting off a pileup that caused Taylor Phinney to once again hit the ground hard, this time injuring his foot and necessitating stitches. According to VeloNews, UCI rules state that any rider who crashes within the final three kilometers of a stage does not need to finish the race in order to keep his time.
Cavendish crosses the finish right after crashing at 40mph. Photo: gazzetta.it
Phinney crossed the finish line in an ambulance, but later returned to attend the podium ceremony. At 21, Phinney is the youngest rider to wear the famed (pink) maglia rosa jersey in 30 years, and with his fluent Italian the young American is beginning to woo Italy’s passionate fan base. Although only one American has ever won the Tour d'Italia—Andy Hamsted in dramatic fashion in 1988—Phinney might just give U.S. fans something to cheer about as racing heads back down to Italia.