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Geraint Thomas (Ineos) has crashed out of the Tour de Suisse.
The defending Tour de France champion hit the deck along with Astana’s Andrey Zeits with around 30 kilometers to go in the fourth stage of the race. Thomas spent several minutes on the ground receiving medical attention. Zeits was lifted onto an ambulance in a stretcher, and Thomas ultimately abandoned the race and headed to a nearby hospital for evaluation as well.
The extent of any injuries Thomas may have suffered in the fall remains unknown, although he appeared to be able to move both arms and shoulders while still on the ground.
— daniel mcmahon (@cyclingreporter) June 18, 2019
Just last week, Thomas went from being one of two main options for Ineos at the upcoming Tour de France to the squad’s clear leader after Chris Froome sustained multiple injuries in a crash. Froome hit the deck in a recon of the Critérium du Dauphiné’s stage 4 time trial and suffered several fractures. The four-time yellow jersey winner spent several hours in surgery following the crash, and will miss the Tour.
With Froome out, Thomas became the top option for Ineos at the Tour, with rising star Egan Bernal likely to have a featured role as well. Both riders started the Tour de Suisse in what was meant to be a key final tune-up before the French Grand Tour.
Thomas appeared to be a strong bet for overall contention in Switzerland, sitting eighth overall at the start of stage 4 before his crash and subsequent departure from the race.
UPDATE: Ineos has since provided a statement saying Thomas “escaped relatively unscathed” from his crash. The Welshman “suffered abrasions on his shoulder and a cut above his right eye” but, crucially, his involvement in the Tour de France “isn’t likely to be affected”.