Alberto Bettiol crashed hard at Strade Bianche but got up to ride, with his helmet clearly saving from far more serious injuries.
The EF Education-EasyPost rider had made an attack with 47 km to go in pursuit of eventual winner Tom Pidcock but after being joined by several other riders he crashed at speed after a sweeping curve in the road and television images captured him lying motionless on the road.
He was initially stunned and lay on the road but then moved and was even able to get up and continue riding. However the EF Education-EasyPost preferred to pull him out of the race for precautionary reasons.
“Unfortunately, a hard crash ended Alberto Bettiol’s chances early after he had opened up the race with a powerful attack on Monte Sante Marie.
“Alberto is a bit bruised and sore but there are no signs of concussion upon initial assessment. Our doctors will continue to monitor him closely,” the team said.
Bettiol was hoping to land a result in what the Tuscany rider considers his home race. He hails from Castelfiorentino, just north of Siena. He was quick to assure everyone he was not seriously injured.
“I’m okay. I’ve got a headache and I destroyed my helmet but it could have been far worse,” he said on social media, posting a roadside video of the crash.
“My race was going perfectly but the crashed ruined my chances,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“It’s a pity because when I attacked, I wasn’t going flat out, I felt good.
“I was with Magnus Sheffield, we were together after the Monte Sante Marie section of gravel. Perhaps he looked around or something and so hit me at speed.
“I went down hard and I only hit my head. I rode on until the Colle Pinzuto gravel sector but the team preferred to pull me out of the race for precautionary reasons.”
Bettiol wasn’t diagnosed with a concussion or a head injury and so is still scheduled to start Tirreno-Adriatico on Monday.