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Hitting the deck hard when his front wheel washed out on a descent 28 kilometres from the end of the stage, Ag2r La Mondiale rider Domenico Pozzovivo is recovering in hospital after what was a very serious looking crash.
The Italian rider fell on the downhill after the Barbagelata climb, landing on his face. He remained on the ground for several minutes, appearing to be motionless, and fears rose as to his condition.
However after being fitted with a neck brace, covered in foil and placed in an ambulance on a stretcher, word later came that he was conscious and aware of his surroundings.
Taken to Genova hospital, he has been given a full medical examination. “Domenico suffers from a cranial-facial trauma but the scanner reveals no intra-cranial lesion,” stated Ag2r la Mondiale’s medical manager doctor Eric Bouvat plus doctor Roberto Parravicini, the team’s doctor in the Giro. Essentially, it means he suffered facial injuries and lacerations but no brain injury.
“He has deep wounds above his right eye and received stitches. He is conscious and lucid but has no memory of the crash.”
Pozzovivo is a strong climber who won a stage in the 2012 Giro. He has finished eighth, tenth and fifth overall in the past three editions and was aiming for the podium – or the win – this time around.
The transmitted images from the stage have led to criticisms of the host broadcaster RAI. Four years after the death of Wouter Weylandt on a Giro descent, images of Pozzovivo’s fall raised fears that another tragedy had taken place.
As was the case then and now, TV cameras lingered on the fallen rider and the scene. It was impossible to tell if Pozzovivo was alive and many were critical of RAI for its persistence in showing a Giro competitor lying on the road and receiving treatment.
Indeed Eurosport commentators apologised to their viewers, saying that they had no control over the images they were being fed and that they considered the coverage to be unwarranted and excessive.
The 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome echoed this, as did many others.
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) May 11, 2015
Fortunately things are not as serious as they first appeared and Pozzovivo should make a full recovery. At this point in time it is unclear as to when he will return to racing; in the meantime, professional riders, racing fans and Eurosport commentators will hope that TV coverage will be more measured in the event of other crashes.