The Giro has claimed another high-profile rider, with Aussie Brad McGee biting the bitumen just as the champion cyclist was making a fresh start.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

It's a cruel game professional cycling.

It's been a shocking day for Australian riders at the Giro in stage 3 - Brad McGee and Stuart O'Grady were the latest victims of the narrow and tight roads which dominate the landscape.

Both are out of the Giro - both must now re-assess their Tour de France plans - both must be contemplating whether they will get a start at the Olympics.

Like David Zabriskie 24 hours earlier, McGee was the second high-profile casualty to be lifted onto an ambulance and taken to hospital.

O'Grady waited until finishing before withdrawing.

Both have broken collarbones - not the kind of news you want to hear when attempting to complete a comeback after being away from the spotlight.

In McGee's case,it was a comevack after serving a couple of years through injury, while O'Grady seems to have the broken collarbone syndrome more times than not these days.

It's a massive blow for CSC - McGee's signing with the team at the end of last year at CSC was seen as his way of "starting over".

He won the approval of team boss Bjarne Riis and saw his arrival as a reunion with O'Grady who was coming along so well since his horrific fall in July last year.

Let's not forget of McGee's pedigree at this level - he is the only Australian to wear the leader's jersey in all three of Europe's Grand Tours (the Giro, the Tour and the Vuelta.)

But today's crash left him sprawled on the roadway in a lot of pain - one would think the chances of appearing at the Tour de France (if there were any in the first place) are nil.

And while competing on the Olympic velodrome was always going to be a top priority in 2008, McGee's preparations of representing Australia for the gold medal in the team pursuit are under a dark cloud.

Apart from the two mentioned another Aussie who failed to contest the sprint in Milazzo after limping to the finish line was Graeme Brown.

He was pushed into a barrier in the final 500 metres and also came out second best, but carrying nowhere near the injuries of his compatriots.

Browny should back up for stage 4, but his long-term plans are also to race in on the track in Beijing in the teams pursuit.

In this modern age of professional cycling, it makes you wonder whether it is possible to sacrifice for country without suffering from wear-and-tear for pro-team?

Australia's elite cyclists can draw parallels with professional footballers as our Socceroos have been forced to battle the club versus country issue for many years now.

It's thought a gold rush in Beijing was unlikely whatever Australian team selected given the poor performances behind Great Britain at the recent world track championships in Manchester.

Today's carnage on the roads of Italy might be costly in more ways than one.