Bad luck hit Euskaltel in Saturday's Giro d'Italia opener as Pablo Urtasun crashed, injuring an elbow and a hip in the process.
The all-rounder, who grabbed Euskaltel's first win this year at the Vuelta a Castilla y León, managed to complete the stage in obvious pain before getting his injuries examined. Luckily for both team and rider, no fractures were sustained.
Nonetheless, Urtasun wasn't best pleased with life when talking to the team's website later on.
"I'm discouraged", he said. "I've been training in Almería on a few occasions, I've done six hour rides in which I've suffered a whole lot, I've climber dozens of mountains to get into shape, and then one crash wipes all that away.
"My elbow is inflamed, but what will hurt the most tomorrow is my hip. We were riding along pretty fast when the crash occurred, so I took a big hit. I've experienced this before, and a week of pain now lies ahead of me. It's a shame to have this kind of luck when I've prepared so well for the race".
The opening 130km leg in downtown Naples saw numerous crashes, not least the big one inside the last two clicks that saw the peloton split up and Mark Cavendish sprinting to an anticipated win from a small group left at the front.
None of the Euskaltel riders got tangled up in that one, though, and team captain Samuel Sánchez got through the day without any mishaps or time losses.
"The team did a great job today", he praised afterwards. "They kept me well positioned all day, so I've only got words of gratitude for them. It was important to get off to a good start, so in that regard Pablo Urtasun's crash was a shame".
Miguel Mínguez also suffered a minor crash underway, but the native of Bilbao quickly got up and finished the stage without major trouble.
On a more positive note for fans of the 'the Carrots', Ricardo Mestre made his Grand Tour bow with a bang. The Portuguese made it into the break of the day and gave Euskaltel presence up ahead of the pack.
Ioannis Tamouridis was the team's top finisher, the Greek rider placing a noteworthy 13th after avoiding the pile-up near the end.
Results (full results here):
- (1, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), 2:58:38)
- 13, Ioannis Tamouridis, s.t.
- 40, Samuel Sánchez, s.t.
- 42, Egoi Martínez, s.t.
- 44, Jorge Azanza, s.t.
- 76, Gorka Verdugo, s.t.
- 104, Ricardo Mestre, s.t.
- 122, Robert Vrecer, s.t.
- 156, Miguel Mínguez, s.t.
- 207, Pablo Urtasun, 5:07
Photo: Kevin Remmerie