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12 May, 2016

Omar Fraile Abandons Giro d'Italia

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Image courtesy of Stiehl Photography/AM.

The finish to stage 5 of the 2016 Giro d’Italia proved to be an exciting one as Andre Griepel of team Lotto-Soudal claimed the stage in a dramatic sprint finish with Arnaud Demare of FDJ and Sonny Colbrelli of team Bardiani-CSF. Andre Griepel managed to hold on and finished just ahead of the pack, while Tom Dumoulin of team Giant-Alpecin managed to retain the pink leader’s jersey.

For Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka it would not be the best of days as our African Team lost Omar Fraile. The Basque rider had to abandon after 100km's of today's stage after crashing heavily during yesterday's stage 4.

Overnight though, the young climber picked up a fever and was not able to keep any fluid down. He started today's stage with the hope of nursing through to the finish but a really fast start meant this would not be possible and unfortunately, he had no choice but to stop at the feed zone.

The stage went on though and it was 4 riders who animated the 230km stage by making the break of the day. While the stage was by no means flat, the sprinting teams were intent on bringing the race back together for a bunch sprint.

This scenario would eventually materialize and with 10km to go, the race was all together.Once again our African Team was focused on delivering Kristian Sbaragli to the sprint as the final 1.5km suited our young Italian.

Being a slightly uphill pave surface, Sbaragli was well positioned going onto the pave but with no team really taking control of the lead-out there was a slight lull in the pace which saw a number of rider’s swamp to the front before a left hand turn with 1km to go.

Sbaragli was boxed in, lost position quickly and then there was also a crash in the corner.

The sprint then opened up and Sbaragli found himself having to come from around position 20 when before the final corner he was 8th wheel. In the end our Italian had to settle for 11th place on the stage.

Sports Director for the Dimension Data for Qhubeka team, Jean-Pierre Heynderickx shared his thought on the days performance.

“We have to start with the bad news of the day, Omar Fraile stopped today. He had a bad night after he crashed yesterday. He threw up a couple of times in the evening and a couple of times during the race. He was feeling dizzy and had a serious headache. He really wasn't feeling well and you could see he was completely empty so he stopped in the feed zone.”

“It's always a bad thing when you lose a rider in a grand tour, and more so when it is early on so we are sad to see him go. Then we went for Kristian in the sprint. He had a good position but was in the middle of the road. Some riders went past him on the left and others on the right, then he was too far back before the last corner.”