Tour Down Under Crash: Broken bones mar 2012 WorldTour opener
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tour Down Under Crash: Broken bones mar 2012 WorldTour opener

by Ben Atkins at 8:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under, Injury
Fractured vertebrae for Roelandts, hip for Guesdon, just bruising for Montaguti in horrific final kilometre pile up

jurgen roelandtsThe massive crash inside the final kilometre of the first stage of the Santos Tour Down Under, between Prospect and Clare, marred the opening event of the 2012 International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour. Although they all crossed the line, minutes behind stage winner André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), the German’s teammate Jürgen Roelandts, AG2R La Mondiale sprinter Matteo Montaguti, and FDJ-BigMat veteran Frédéric Guesdon were all taken to hospital in Adelaide with suspected fractures.

Roelandts would have been an important part of Greipel’s sprint train, but the high-speed fall caused a fracture to his sixth cervical vertebrae – at the base of his neck – which will surely see the former Belgian champion out for several weeks.

"He's hurt, but he can speak and move." said Herman Frison, Lotto-Belisol team manager.

The 26-year-old was clearly in better spirits than his condition might suggest, and was able to post a picture of himself to his Twitter page as he lay immobilised on a hospital trolley.

“Live from urgency in Adelaide,” he wrote. “Feeling ok for moment, scans coming up. Congrats @AndreGreipel”

Thankfully, the 70-year-old woman spectator that Roelandts hit head-on, as he was pitched from the road, has been reported as getting away with minor injures after being treated at the local Clare Hospital.

Montaguti turned out to be the lucky one of the three, with suspicions of a right broken collarbone; thankfully, proving groundless. He did suffer sever bruising to his shoulder and hip however, but he may still start tomorrow’s stage.

"I have no fractures and it's a good news!” said the Italian. “I was lucky because when you ride at more than 60 kph and you fall, it can be much more serious; I was really concerned.

“I crossed the finish line so as to have a chance of being on the start line tomorrow morning,” he expleined. “Tonight, the legs are less painful but I still have some pain at back and shoulder when I move. We'll see how I will feel tomorrow morning."

Arguably, the most serious victim of the incident was Guesdon, with the 40-year-old suffering a non-displaced fracture of his left hip. The injury reportedly doesn’t require an operation, but immobilisation is necessary and he have to remain in hospital in Adelaide to allow it to stabilise, before returning to France as soon as possible for recovery.

Guesdon has just started his final season in the professional peloton; with his retirement set for April – after he has had one final tilt at Paris-Roubaix, the race that made his name in 1997 – and this injury will set back his ambition to take in as much racing as possible before then.


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