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The Giro d’Italia entourage traveled to Italy on Monday, but it didn’t include French veteran Jean-Christophe Péraud.
The 2014 Tour de France runner-up crashed out Sunday just three days into his first ever Giro after a heavy fall on his face and chest that knocked him out. Despite severe cuts and abrasions, X-rays and scans later confirmed no fractures or brain injury.
“That was the first time I lost consciousness, and hopefully the last,” the Ag2r La Mondiale rider said. “I remembered nothing of the crash. My doctor told me that Patrick [Gretsch] crashed in front of me, and I can only remember flashes. I regained consciousness, and that’s a good thing. My first objective is my health, and I am not too banged up.”
Péraud went down as Gretsch led the peloton through a roundabout and fell in front of his teammate, sending the Frenchman toppling over the front of his handlebars. Péraud suffered severe cuts and abrasions to his face, chest and arms, but luckily there were no serious injuries despite the high-speed impact.
Péraud later posted a photo of himself on Twitter, including the hashtag “Scarface.” After a trip to the hospital, he was scheduled to return to France, becoming the first rider to abandon the 99th Giro.
Ag2r team doctor Eric Bouvat said Péraud suffered “cranial trauma, facial trauma with a loss of consciousness, various bruises and [abrasions] on upper and lower limbs.”
Péraud has suffered some nasty crashes the past few years. In the 2013 Tour, he fractured his shoulder ahead of a time trial at Embrun and then crashed heavily on the shoulder during the stage. Last year, he also crashed hard in a stage across the Massif Central but stayed in the race despite being covered with bandages.
Péraud’s exit ends hope of a strong French GC in the Giro, and Ag2r will now rally around Domenico Pozzovivo, who has finished in the Giro’s top 10 four times.
“I will fight for Jean-Christophe,” Pozzovivo said. “It’s a shame about his crash. Our goal was to fight together for the GC. Last year, I also crashed out in the stage, but the team continued the battle. I will now take up the lead.”