(Tortona) Tao Geoghegan Hart crashed on a wet road and left the Giro d’Italia on a stretcher during Stage 11 on Wednesday.

The race is therefore deprived of another contender for the general classification, three days after Remco Evenepoel tested positive for coronavirus, after recovering the pink jersey.

Geoghegan Hart, winner of the race in 2020, was third in the general classification at the start signal, five seconds behind leader Geraint Thomas, his teammate Ineos Grenadiers.

The entire Ineos team, plus Primoz Roglic, was involved in an accident 70 kilometers from the finish. The team did not immediately provide a medical report on Geoghegan Hart.

As Thomas and Roglic quickly got up and started again, Geoghegan Hart was placed in an ambulance.

German Pascal Ackermann won the stage in a sprint ahead of Jonathan Milan and Mark Cavendish.

Thomas stayed two seconds ahead of Roglic, while Joao Almeida moved into third place overall, 22 seconds behind.

The stage followed a long route of 219 kilometers from Camaiore to Tortona, with three lower classification climbs.

Thursday’s stage will be a 179 kilometer course from Bra to Rivoli in the Piedmont region, including a second category climb 30 kilometers from the finish.

The Giro will end in Rome on May 28.

COVID-19 is rampant

Before the start of the stage, four teammates of world champion Evenepoel tested positive for coronavirus and followed the leader of Soudal Quick-Step by withdrawing from the competition.

Evenepoel had won Sunday’s individual time trial to reclaim the leader’s pink jersey, but his team later announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.

“Following the positive control of the Remco Evenepoel pink jersey on Sunday, a new series of tests was carried out on the riders and staff who remained in Italy. Jan Hirt, Josef Cerny, Louis Vervaeke and Mattia Cattaneo unfortunately cannot continue,” the Belgian team said in a statement.

Team doctor Toon Cruyt said after Evenepoel tested positive, two other riders started feeling unwell on Monday, but their antigen tests came back negative.

“Therefore, a PCR test was performed on the remaining seven runners, the results of which showed all four runners to be positive,” he said. “We will continue to monitor and implement our testing protocol on the three riders and staff who remain in the race. »

Other runners also had to retire after testing positive for COVID-19, including Domenico Pozzovivo and Rigoberto Urán.