• A dejected Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) crosses the Stage 19 finish line (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Soudal) was forced to surrender the leader’s jersey in the Giro d’Italia overnight after crashing into a wall of snow in Stage 19’s Coll dell’Agnello descent.
28 May 2016 - 9:31 AM  UPDATED 28 May 2016 - 9:39 AM

He finished the stage four minutes and 54 seconds behind stage winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), while Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) finished third and took the Maglia Rosa.

The LottoNL-Jumbo team appeared to be in control early in the stage, as it has over the last three weeks, with Kruijswijk was among the best climbers on the hardest climb of the race.

“On the top of the Colle dell’Agnello, I was on my limit,” Kruijswijk said. “I wanted to eat and drink something, and followed the others.” In that moment, everything went wrong and Kruijswijk crashed near the beginning of the descent.

“I made a stupid mistake. I made a wrong move and crashed in that wall of snow. My bike was battered, and I wasn’t able to continue immediately.

“After I started riding, everything hurt. I felt pain in my back and my ribs, and my morale was broken. I knew that I had lost time and tried to move on, but it was over. I lost my Giro today." - Steven Kruijswijk

“It isn’t over for Steven,” said the team’s sport director Addy Engels optimistically. “The best situation would have been with Steven still in the pink jersey. It looked like that was going to happen because he gave a good impression on the Colle dell’Agnello.

"The odds are not in our favour anymore but when he’s able to recover he can strike back tomorrow.”

After the crash, Kruijswijk continued to lose time as he could not receive a new bike immediately. “I was the first car behind Kruijswijk’s group, but we were not allowed to go ahead because of the dropped riders,” said Engels.

“We told him to go on with his old bike because we were not behind them. When we reached him, he said that he wanted to change bikes immediately.

“We kept on shouting for him. It was obvious that he was going to lose a lot of time, but tomorrow is another very hard stage. The way he kept on going today he looked like he is still able to push on for tomorrow.”

Kruijswijk went to the hospital immediately after the stage. He has been diagnosed with a fractured rib and has pain in his foot and side, according to the team on Twitter.

Kruijswijk now sits third in the overall standings one minute and five seconds behind Chaves, 21 seconds behind Nibali and 43 seconds ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who sits in fourth.

Related reading and viewing
Chaves rides into overall lead at the Giro d’Italia
After a drama packed 19th stage of the Giro d’Italia, Esteban Chaves moved into the overall lead giving Orica-GreenEDGE its first chance at a Grand Tour victory.
Extended Highlights: Giro d'Italia Stage 19
Nibali and Chaves the big winners after a drama packed Giro d'Italia stage