The Giro d’Italia came to a halt on Sunday afternoon after a huge crash which forced several cyclists to abandon the race.
The incident was missed by television cameras, having occurred within the first five kilometres of stage 15.
The pile-up took place on a windy strait outside the start town of Grado in north-eastern Italy, with a huge group of riders tumbling to the floor.
Emanuel Buchmann, Natnael Berhane, Jos van Emden and Ruben Guerreiro were all forced to withdraw from the race in the aftermath. They ride for Bora–Hansgrohe, Cofidis, Jumbo-Visma and EF Education-Nippo respectively.
Buchmann, Berhane and Van Emden received medical attention at the side of the road and were unable to continue. Guerreiro rode on for just under 20 kilometres before he had to call it a day.
Stage 15 was temporarily neutralised as a result of the crash as ambulances rushed to the scene. With so many medical staff otherwise occupied, it was decided that it would be unsafe for the race to continue and it was halted for around half an hour to allow them to treat the injured riders and catch up to the back of the field.
In response to the crash, Eurosport commentator Rob Hatch said: “This is an absolute disaster at the start.”
After initial frustration among riders who had made an early breakaway, Hatch added: “Not a popular decision [to neutralise the stage] when it was taken, especially with the riders trying to get up the road.
“I think it’s one later on, a few months down the line, they would certainly thank them for – looking after their safety at all times.”
Buchmann was sixth in the general classification following stage 14. He appeared to be bleeding from a cut on his face, though the extent of the riders’ injuries is yet to be confirmed.