Copenhagen - Matthew Goss of Australia won the third stage of the Giro d'Italia over 190km around Horsens in Denmark on Monday in a sprint finish.
Sprint favourite Mark Cavendish and overall leader Taylor Phinney both went down in a crash about a hundred metres from the line.
Juan Jose Haedo took second place in the sprint, ahead of American Tyler Farrar.
But it was just behind them that the major drama took place, with Italian Roberto Ferrari veering wildly to his right and cutting across Cavendish's path.
The British Team Sky leader could not avoid the Italian and clipped Ferrari's back wheel before crashing and taking down several riders, including the man in the pink jersey.
World champion Cavendish managed to get up and walk over the line carrying his bike but with his jersey badly torn.
Phinney stayed down for a long time and seemed to have an ankle problem but he too crossed the line and held on to the leader's jersey.
Race rules deem that if a rider goes down in a group crash in the final three kilometres, he is given the same time as the peloton.
However, it remains to be seen if Phinney will be able to continue on Wednesday when the race restarts in Italy following Tuesday's rest day.
Provisional result and overall standings after the 190km third stage of the Giro d'Italia starting and finishing in Horsens, Denmark on Monday:
1. Matthew Goss (Australia / Orica) 4hrs 20mins 53secs 2. Juan Jose Haedo (Argentina / Saxo Bank) same time 3. Tyler Farrar (U.S. / Garmin) 4. Arnaud Demare (France / FDJ) 5. Mark Renshaw (Australia / Rabobank) 6. Thor Hushovd (Norway / BMC Racing) 7. Alexander Kristoff (Norway / Katusha) 8. Romain Feillu (France / Vacansoleil) 9. Roberto Ferrari (Italy / Androni Giocattoli) 10. Fumiyuki Beppu (Japan / Orica)
1. Taylor Phinney (U.S. / BMC Racing) 9hrs 24mins 31secs 2. Geraint Thomas (Britain / Team Sky) +9" 3. Alex Rasmussen (Denmark / Garmin) +13" 4. Manuele Boaro (Italy / Saxo Bank) +15" 5. Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania / Garmin) +18" 6. Gustav Larsson (Sweden / Vacansoleil) +22" 7. Brett Lancaster (Australia / Orica) +23" 8. Matthew Goss (Australia / Orica) 9. Marco Pinotti (Italy / BMC Racing) +24" 10. Jesse Sergent (New Zealand / RadioShack) +26"