Alessandro Covi latest Giro d'Italia abandon after stage 11 crash

 Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates)
Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates)

Alessandro Covi is the latest to be added to the long list of Giro d'Italia abandons, with the UAE Team Emirates rider falling in the crash involving Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) on stage 11.

Covi still made it through to the finish line, almost 11 minutes down on his teammate Pascal Ackermann, who won the stage.

However, he was then taken to hospital for further checks and the team said he would not start stage 12.

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"Alessandro sustained a possible fracture to his sacrum and will be unable to continue in this Giro. He will return home for definitive imaging," said UAE Team Emirates team doctor Jason Suter in a statement.

Covi appeared to be the first rider to go down in the crash on wet roads at nearly 70km from the end of the 219km stage to Tortona. The crash right near the front of the bunch also involved race leader Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) and the second-placed Jumbo-Visma rider Primož Roglič, who both continued on.

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Geoghegan Hart, who had been third overall at the start of the stage, wasn't so fortunate. The Ineos Grenadiers rider, who crashed independently of Covi, couldn't ride on, leaving the race to later discover he had fractured his hip. Teammate Pavel Sivakov also came down, riding on to the finish line, even further back than Covi.

Covi's departure means UAE Team Emirates are now one rider down as they work to support João Almeida in pursuit of the maglia rosa. With Geoghegan Hart out, Almeida has now shifted up to third spot, while Jay Vine had seen any GC hopes evaporate on stage 10.

Still, UAE Team Emirates are in a relatively strong position when it comes to numbers, with the combination of COVID-19, crashes and other illness having had a huge impact on the peloton. Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) is the highest profile of the departures, having left while wearing pink after testing positive to COVID-19, but he is just one of a long list of withdrawals due to the coronavirus.

Four of his teammates were also out by the start of stage 11, while Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-EasyPost) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Israel-Premier Tech) also didn't resume racing after the rest day and Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) left ahead of stage 8.

Roglič's Jumbo-Visma are one of just three teams at full strength as, despite having a torrid run-in with COVID-19 withdrawals and last-minute changes due to crashes, the team have so far managed to avoid any abandons.