Tejay van Garderen knocked out of Tour de Romandie by falling tree branch
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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tejay van Garderen knocked out of Tour de Romandie by falling tree branch

by Ben Atkins at 3:01 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Romandie, Injury
BMC Racing’s American hopeful taken out by freak accident as strong winds buffet early kilometres

tejay van garderenTejay van Garderen’s Tour de Romandie came to an abrupt end just 50 kilometres into today’s fourth stage, as the BMC Racing rider was struck by a tree branch. The American was sitting safely in the peloton as it descended the Col des Mosses at high speed, as the bunch was hit by winds of up to 60kph.

Van Garderen was hit in the face by the wayward branch, sustaining a cut to his nose that required stitches. Despite starting the day in 17th place overall, just 15 seconds behind Team Sky’s then race leader Bradley Wiggins - and only four behind white, young riders’ jersey Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Barracuda) - the 23-year-old was forced to abandon the race.

He was treated by BMC Racing’s chief medical officer, who confirmed that nothing was broken.

“He's doing fine, he has come back to the hotel and he’s feeling good,” said Testa. “What happened is, while they were going downhill very fast - they were on 50mph - in a headwind, a piece of a branch came off a tree and hit him in the face. He didn’t fall, but he realised it was bleeding so he stopped on the side and the race doctor stopped too. They realised that he had a deep laceration, just on the side of his nose, and they understood that he required a suture; so they stopped him and took him to the closest hospital, where he spent a couple of hours.

“They did a good job cleaning his wounds, he had a few superficial cuts on his nose, and the one that required a suture was deep.”

“As I said, it looks like he’s fine, he was aware of what was going on,” he added. “It was the right decision for him to stop, and for the race doctor to stop him.

“It's just a soft tissue injury, but one of the cuts, according to the report of the doctor at the hospital, was pretty deep, and required some sutures, but still only involving the soft tissues. No broken nose, or any broken bones.”

Testa is confident that the Swiss hospital medical team treated van Garderen well and that the American shouldn’t have a bad scar from the incident.

“He’s a good looking guy, so hopefully he’s not going to,” he laughed. “I think they did a good job.”

Since there are no other injuries, the wound should not hinder van Garderen’s riding too much in the coming days, although Testa would prefer if the 23-year-old did not train too hard so as to keep the area clean.

“He'll have to take it easy for a few days,” he confirmed.

The rest of the BMC Racing team enjoyed better luck in the 184km Queen stage of what is one of its Swiss sponsor’s home races. Johann Tschopp managed to get himself into the breakaway, making himself virtual race leader for much of the stage, while Amaël Moinard was aggressive on the final climb and then led out Cadel Evans at the finish; with the Australian Tour de France champion taking eighth.

Steve Morabito is the team’s best placed rider - in 12th overall, 23 seconds behind new race leader Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) - going into the final day’s 16.5km time trial.


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