Geoghegan Hart injured, Ackermann wins Giro stage
Pascal Ackermann has narrowly won stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia after former champion Tao Geoghegan Hart was forced out of the race with a hip fracture suffered in a crash on a slippery descent.
With around 70km remaining in Wednesday's 219km ride from Camaiore to Tortona, British rider Geoghegan Hart, who won the Giro in 2020, was riding with his Ineos Grenadiers teammates including overall leader Geraint Thomas, who also hit the deck along with race favourite Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
Thomas and Roglic were able to re-join the peloton but Geoghegan Hart, who had been third in the overall standings, was attended to by medics before being carried on a stretcher into an ambulance.
"Immediately following his involvement in a crash during today's Stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia, Tao Geoghegan Hart was transported to a local hospital in Genoa," an Ineos Grenadiers statement said later.
"After further assessment, imaging confirmed that Tao had sustained a fracture of the left hip which will require surgery."
Geoghegan Hart, who had been in sparkling form, said on social media: "I'm devastated this is how my Giro ended. Thank you all for your messages and support.
"I was so excited about the remainder of this race and loving every minute of it.
"Arrivederci Giro d'Italia."
Shortly after the accident on damp roads, Movistar rider Oscar Rodriguez also suffered a crash in which he came into contact with a roadside sign and was also forced to abandon the ill-starred race which has been hit by bad weather and COVID-19 withdrawals.
UAE Team Emirates rider Ackermann claimed his third career Giro stage win after beating Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) to the line in a photo finish at the end of the race's longest stage. British sprint great Mark Cavendish was third.
Australian Kaden Groves, who is battling for the points title in third place overall, did not feature in the sprint finale this time, having suffered a second straight bad day, eventually struggling home 10min 45sec behind Ackermann.
Thomas retains his two-second lead over Roglic in the general classification after both remounted to come home safely in the peloton.
Following Geoghegan Hart's exit and Ineos's Pavel Sivakov also dropping out the top 10 following a crash, Joao Almeida is now third overall, 22 seconds behind, while Bahrain Victorious star Jack Haig moves up to 11th as the top Australian, 2:58 down on Thomas.
The Giro has been hit with several high-profile withdrawals with former race leader Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) having to abandon after testing positive for COVID-19.
Four of Evenepoel's teammates have also tested positive for the virus and withdrew from the race earlier on Wednesday.
Thursday's stage 12 is a 179-kilometre ride from Bra to Rivoli.