RadioShack’s Jani Brajkovic diagnosed with concussion and a fractured collarbone
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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

RadioShack’s Jani Brajkovic diagnosed with concussion and a fractured collarbone

by VeloNation Press at 4:21 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
 
Out of Tour de France and off bike for at least five days

Jani BrajkovicFollowing Jani Brajkovic's severe crash at the intermediate sprint point of today’s stage of the Tour de France, the Team RadioShack rider has been diagnosed with a fracture to his left collarbone and brain concussion at the hospital in Gungamp.

“I don’t remember anything of the crash,” Brajkovic said, according to the team. “I remember the moment I was about to crash and then the next thing I remember was our team doctor asking me if I thought I could continue. But I wasn’t aware of where I was and which race I was in. Nothing. So it was clear that I had to go to the hospital. Obviously I am super disappointed with this. This is the worst case scenario for me. My entire year was focused on this Tour de France and now after five days it’s over. On the other hand, I think I can recover pretty fast and go for the Vuelta and get results there. But still, the Tour de France is something special and it’s very hard for me and for my heart. It’s very sad.”

Brajkovic structured his season around peaking at the Tour, passing up the chance to be in top condition in the Critérium du Dauphiné. He won the race last year, beating Alberto Contador, but held back in his preparation this year to peak later. That has now been in vain, and he is likely to face nearly a week without exercise. He’ll gradually be able to get back into things then, and has indicated that he’s likely to target the Vuelta a España. He came to prominence in the race in 2006 when he led it.

“I know it’s just words, but after yesterday’s stage I knew I could do my part in this year’s Tour,” he said. He finished in the second group, eight seconds behind stage winner Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team), and was sitting eighteenth overall this morning. “The doctor says if they insert a pin in my collarbone I could ride very quickly, after a few days, but my head needs a few more days, so I’d say I might be back on the rollers in another five days and after that go day-by-day to see how I’m feeling. I might be on the road a few days after that.”

Two other riders with the team were also injured in crashes. Both Levi Leiphemier and Yaroslav Popovych hurt their wrists, but have been cleared of any fractures. As a result they will be able to continue in the race.

General manager Johan Bruyneel said that it was a very bad day for the team. “It’s too bad because we started with four guys for GC and wanted to try to keep those four guys until we reached the mountains,” he explained. “At the same time, this is the Tour de France and riders were nervous all day. Levi was in a crash. Horner had a wheel change and was in the back by himself. Then Jani crashed. Popo waited for him but later he crashed with an ambulance. So at one point we had half of the team at the back.

“Now we've lost Jani, one of our protected riders, which is a shame. But that’s the way it is in racing. Truthfully it could have been worse.”

Several other big riders also came down, including defending Tour champion Contador, Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky). All will hope to steer clear of trouble tomorrow.

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