Giro d'Italia: Bradley Wiggins plummets down GC after crash costs him 1min 24secs
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: 11/05/13 8:44am
Bradley Wiggins crashed 6km from the finish and lost 1min 24secs
Sir Bradley Wiggins lost almost a minute and a half and fell out of the top 20 on the general classification after crashing on a rain-soaked and incident-packed seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia.
The Team Sky leader was one of a plethora of riders who fell in a treacherous final 30km, but while most were able to remount and limit their losses, Wiggins's damage was more serious.
After hitting the deck hard on a tight, right-hand turn, the 33-year-old Briton tiptoed through the remaining 6km to the finish in Pescara and crossed the line one minute 24 seconds down on all of his rivals for overall victory.
The stage was won by Australia's Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol), who had been part of an early breakaway and later powered clear on his own to take a superb solo victory.
Spain's Benat Inxausti (Movistar) is the new race leader after finishing in the second group on the road alongside Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and Cadel Evans (BMC), 1min 7sec down.
Former pink jersey wearer Luca Paolini (Katusha) and Wiggins then followed in a later chase group in 54th and 55th place respectively, leaving Wiggins 23rd overall, 2min 32sec down on Inxausti.
The rolling, 177km stage from San Salvo to Pescara on Italy's eastern coast had the makings of difficult stage but was made even more challenging by the weather.
The first two of four steep, categorised climbs in the final 56km served to thin out the peloton and reduce the day's breakaway from six riders to just two, Hansen and Emanuele Sella (Androni-Venezuela).
Hansen would later drop his Italian colleague and ride to the biggest win of his career, but all eyes were on the drama taking place behind.
Rain began to pour as the peloton tackled the last two of the categorised climbs and riders fell one after the other as they careered down the opposite sides.
Adam Hansen soloed to victory
Nibali, an expert descender, attacked on the penultimate downhill section, but no sooner had he opened up gap, he slipped and crashed on a tight left-hander. Fortunately for the Italian, he was able to remount his bike and get back on his way without losing any vital seconds.
Wiggins had failed to respond to Nibali's injection of pace and was already off the pace by the time of his own fall, a couple of kilometres later.
But unlike Nibali, he picked himself up gingerly and rode the rest of the stage at a near-crawling pace. After the stage, he was seen holding an ice pack to his right knee.
Nibali's recovery saw him move up to second in the general classification, five seconds down on Inxausti and three seconds ahead of Hesjedal in third.
Watch highlights of stage seven on Sky Sports 3HD from 9.30pm BST
Stage seven result
1 Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto-Belisol, 4:35:49
2 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani Valvole - CSF-Inox, +1.07
3 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Vini Fantini, same time
4 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini, st
5 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale, st
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, st
7 Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole - CSF-Inox, st
8 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ, st
9 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEDGE, st
10 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp, st
55 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, +2.31
1 Benat Inxausti (Spa) Movistar, 28:30:04
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, +5secs
3 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp, +8
4 Giampaulo Caruso (Ita) Katusha, +10
5 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini, +13
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, +16
7 Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco, +19
8 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC, +28
9 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEDGE, +29
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack-Leopard, +34
23 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, 1.32
Red (points classification) - Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
Blue (mountains classification) - Giovanni Visconti (Movistar)
White (best young rider) - Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff)