It was a tough day on the roads of Spain for EF Education First Pro Cycling, as five of the team’s eight riders crashed.
Rigoberto Urán and Hugh Carthy both abandoned the race immediately following their falls. Both were taken to hospital where they were diagnosed with broken left clavicles. Urán also broke his shoulder blade in several places. Both will require surgery in the coming days.
Sergio Higuita and Logan Owen were also involved in the crash, but both were able to continue the stage. Although each has sustained injuries, stitches for Owen, bruising for Higuita, it’s believed, at this point, that both will be able start stage seven on Friday.
Tejay van Garderen represented the team in the early breakaway, which went on to contest the stage win. The American crashed on a descent, falling off the road and into a ditch. He managed to remount his bike and continue racing, crossing the finish line 24 minutes behind the stage winner. He saw the race doctor in Ares del Maestrat following the stage for treatment of road rash. The team will make a decision in the morning about Van Garderen’s ongoing participation in the race.
Three EF Education First Pro Cycling riders made it through Thursday’s stage unscathed: Lawson Craddock, Mitch Docker, and Dani Martínez.
“This really hasn’t been a great day for the team,” said EF Education First Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “Now the most important thing is that we focus on making sure Rigo and Hugh and the rest of the team are healthy. And we refocus the guys still racing on other objectives.”
“We need a bit of time to recuperate,” said sport director Juanam Garate. “Tomorrow we will make sure we take care of each other, and we take it from there.”
The race carries on with a 183-kilometer mountainous stage between Onda and Mas de la Costa. Martínez and Higuita are the team’s best-placed riders in 23rd and 25th place, third and sixth overall in the best young rider’s classification.
The final Grand Tour of the season got underway in Las Salinas de Torrevieja, Spain…