Team Sky were counting the cost of a mistake towards the end of a chaotic stage of the Giro d’Italia.
Crosswinds and crashes split the peloton into pieces as they headed from Amsterdam to Middelburg on stage three, but Team Sky’s riders had escaped the worst of the problems when disaster struck with around 20 kilometres to go.
Mathew Hayman’s front wheel slipped away from him as he went round a tight left-hand turn, bringing five of his team-mates, including Bradley Wiggins, down.
In the end, six Sky riders, including Wiggins, came in 3-59 down on the winner Wouter Weylandt of Quick Step.
Team Sky’s sports director Sean Yates said: “It was a crazy day. We knew it was going to be, especially after yesterday. The wind broke it up and the roads were very difficult again with lots of street furniture and tight turns. C’est la vie.
“It may sound harsh but if he went down on that corner then he [Hayman] was going too fast. His front wheel just went away from him and he had no chance.
“Bradley Wiggins hit the deck the hardest but nothing’s broken. He’s bashed and bruised. In a way, we’re lucky because Christian [Vande Velde] has broken his collarbone apparently so at least we haven’t got any broken bones.
“It’s just incredibly frustrating because it’s the second day in a row. We had the pink jersey and lost it yesterday with all the crashes. I’m convinced that Greg Henderson would have won it [Sunday's stage] if we’d all been there at the finish. Yesterday was a semi-disaster but Brad only lost 30 seconds, now it’s four minutes. Not that he was here to win the Giro but it still changes everything. It’s a different game riding for the GC, even if it’s just for a week.
“It’s a shame because the overall is gone [Wiggins is Sky's best-placed rider, 55th, 4-22 down]. The idea was to be in contention for a week or a bit more but we’ll have to re-think that now. We’re still in the race, Brad can still go for a stage win, target the final time trial and finish the Giro really strong.
“It’ll be hard to pick ourselves up but we’ll dust ourselves down and we’ll have other opportunities.”
Bradley Wiggins had a scrape on his shoulder but said he was not badly hurt. “Hayman went down on the corner and we went straight over him,” he said. “It’s always like that here [in the Netherlands] but it was lethal really. But all of us are fine.”
Giro d’Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
2010 Giro d’Italia coverage in association with Zipvit