Plenty of bikes broken but thankfully no bones in Roubaix crash-fest
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Plenty of bikes broken but thankfully no bones in Roubaix crash-fest

by Ben Atkins at 4:44 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Injury
Helen Wyman’s chances, and Sanne Cant’s race, come to an end in first lap crashes

sanne cantToday’s women’s World Cup race at the iconic Roubaix velodrome saw a level of crashes and technical issues reminiscent with the Classic race that finishes there in April. The first lap saw several multi-rider incidents, ending the chances of more than one big name but, thankfully, despite one rider taken to hospital, no bones were broken; despite the number of bikes that were.

The first incident occurred when Helen Wyman (Kona) came into contact with Sanne van Paassen’s rear wheel on the way out of the sandpit. The European champion had nowhere to go and came down, bringing French champion Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (BH - SR Suntour), and Rabobank Giant duo Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Sabrina Stultjens with her.

Wyman’s rear derailleur hanger snapped in the crash, forcing her to run for almost half a lap before she could change her bike; this put her dead last by the time she finished the first lap, ending any chance of a result.

"Its pretty annoying to lose an opportunity to race for top results like that but there was nothing I could do,” Wyman told VeloNation. “Sanne switched hard to the right in the sand when she came out of a rut. That’s racing, it wasn’t her intention, and it left me dead last by a very long way.”

The British rider managed to claw her way back up from 36th to 13th by the finish, posting some of the fastest lap times in the process.

“I pleased with the way I rode and I'm not off to Spain for a few weeks to prepare for the latter part of the season where my focus now lies," she said.

Wyman’s was not the only technical problem resulting from the incident - although it was the most serious - as Chainel-Lefevre had to spend some time straightening her handlebars, while Ferrand Prevot was also forced to make an bike change soon afterwards because of a broken front shifter.

The most serious crash though, happened later in the lap when US champion Katie Compton (Trek) and Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) came together on a short, sharp drop off and went down. Compton was quickly up and went on to win the race, but Cant stayed down; after being attended at the scene by paramedics, the Belgian was transported to hospital with reports of a suspected broken collarbone, but thankfully only suffered minor injuries.

“I'm still alive..” the Belgian champion posted to her Twitter feed. “BIG headache and heavily bruised wrist.”

Compton’s path to the front of the race was far from a smooth one, however, as she too suffered a mechanical problem, then crashed again.

“I was expecting her to ride [the downhill], and then she and I both went down,” she explained to the TV cameras afterwards. “She went down harder, I broke a spoke in that crash, and had to get a bike change, and after that I just kept making stupid mistakes.

“I think the second crash was on the pavement, that wasn’t pretty,” she added. “I may have crashed on the downhill too. I just kept trying to regroup and focus on the next turn or the next lap.”

Despite her difficulties though, Compton’s lead over van Paassen in the World Cup standings has extended further; the US champion now has 230 points to the Dutchwoman’s 180 at the competition halfway point.


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