At first glance Grosu’s crash in the closing metres of the 175-kilometre stage appeared to be a stock standard bunch sprint accident when racing along the outside barrier for position. However, upon further review of a race video posted by Grosu himself on his official Facebook page, it appears as if the 26-year-old Australian may have played a factor in the race-ending collision.
Both Grosu and Sciotti are sure of it.
"Undoubtedly, Jones thought that the only way to beat Eduard was by criminal means,” replied Sciotti to the Romanian champion’s original post of the video stating: “Life is life … and we can die for one second place! Chapeau.”
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With Grosu down, the Stage 2 winner crossed the line in third position behind Italian Luca Pacioni (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia) and winner Onur Balkan (Torku Şekerspor). Grosu, who had taken his third stage win — second straight — as well as the green points jersey off Pacioni a day earlier, attempted to remount the bike but was forced to limp across the line on foot with the aid of a team-mate before receiving medical attention and being rushed to the hospital for examination.
“My [right] scapula is completely broken, so I will need operation and 30 days of recovery,” Grosu told Tutto Bici journalist Diego Barbera from his hotel after leaving the hospital. “I started my sprint on the right and was overtaking Brenton Jones. He closed on me suddenly and I felt my handlebars move and lost control. I don’t remember anything else from that moment. I was knocked out for two minutes. I tried to stand and I fell down again because I couldn’t.”
After a battery of physical tests, including concussion protocols which showed no damage to the skull despite Grosu’s helmet being split in half during the fall against the barricade, only a broken scapula and a load of bruises and abrasions are a left as a reminder of what could have been a far more critical situation.
Photo credit: Adrian Hoe
Image credit: Eurosport
Although the emotional and mental scars may linger in Grosu’s mind a bit longer than the physical reminders.
“I am so sorry, I am pretty sure I could have won at least another stage and had a big chance to win green jersey, but that’s cycling,” said Grosu, who will return to Romania on Tuesday to undergo an operation to repair the damage to this 25-year-old body and will undoubtedly miss the European Championships next month along with races in early September.
“Maybe sometimes you have to think more about the human side and not just about second place even at the cost of killing someone.”
Jones told Eurosport on Monday: "I'm not interested in discussing a racing incident publicly. I’ve already messaged Grosu privately and wished him a good recovery. He is a great sprinter and a nice guy."
For full stage and race results from the 2018 Tour of Qinghai Lake, click here.
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