JERUSALEM (AP) Chris Froome got off to a rocky start in his quest to win a third consecutive Grand Tour title, crashing during a training run ahead of Friday’s opening stage of the Giro d’Italia and drawing blood around his right knee.
A video showed the four-time Tour de France champion limping gingerly after the accident. His shorts were ripped around the hip and his jersey was ripped near his shoulder blade. He appeared to also have an abrasion on the right side of his body.
Team Sky said Froome was slightly injured but would compete in the opening time trial.
It was hardly an ideal start for Froome, who is facing a potential doping ban after a urine sample he provided at the Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol that was twice the permitted level.
Froome is looking to become only the third person ever to win the three Grand Tour titles in a row.
Team Sky coach Nicolas Portal told Eurosport that Froome’s front wheel slid at low speed during the first lap of training but that the accident would not prevent the British rider from competing.
“It’s pretty painful obviously, but then straight away he went right back on his bike and he did two laps again,” Portal said. “It’s going to be a painful TT for him but he is fine.”
Astana team leader Miguel Angel Lopez also crashed in training but the Colombian will compete as well. Belarussian cyclist Kanstantstin Siutsou of the Bahrain-Merida team was not as fortunate. He was knocked out of the race after a nasty spill.
The series of crashes came shortly before the Giro opened in Jerusalem, the first time a Grand Tour cycling race has ever been held outside Europe. The 9.7-kilometer (6-mile) opening time trial passed Israel’s parliament, Supreme Court, the Israel Museum and the Hebrew University in its route through Jerusalem.
The 167-kilometer (104-mile) second stage on Saturday will whizz down the Mediterranean coast from Haifa to Tel Aviv. Stage 3 will follow a lengthy, 229-kilometer (143-mile) route – the second-longest leg of the entire race – from Beersheba in the Negev desert down to Israel’s southern tip of Eilat along the Red Sea.
The race will then transfer to Italy, and the island of Sicily, for an early rest day on Monday. The Giro ends in Rome on May 27.
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