World champion came down on the descent of the Poggio in Sunday's Milan-San Remo along with teammate Zdenek Stybar

Michal Kwiatkowski says his Etixx – Quick-Step team were unlucky with how things panned out for them at Milan-San Remo, and took to Twitter after the race to show-off his damaged helmet from a crash on the descent of the Poggio.

The world champion hit the ground along with his teammate Zdenek Stybar, while other contenders for the race Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) were also caught-up.

Having lost Mark Cavendish to a mechanical earlier in the race, Kwiatkowski and Stybar were set to try their hand in the finale, which was eventually won by John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), but were left rueing what might have been after their fall on the technical Poggio descent.

Bad luck today, especially that both of us were on the ground,” Kwiatkowski said after the race.

“The race looks different than what it could have been if that didn’t happen. We did it perfectly today, my teammates did a great job putting us into good position. For the first time at Milan-San Remo I was there on the Poggio. We felt really comfortable. It was still a big group.

“When I heard Cavendish was no longer with us, I knew we both still felt good and who knows what can happen in this kind of race. Maybe we could try an attack or make the sprint ourselves. But again, bad luck, and not much I can do in this situation other than feel happy with my condition and that the crash was not worse.”

The Pole posted a picture later on Twitter with his damaged Specialized Evade helmet, which he says saved his life, and said that he didn’t suffer any injuries from the crash that could jeopardise an upcoming Classics campaign.

Let’s hope tomorrow morning when I wake up from bed I won’t feel anything,” Kwiatkowski said, “but as of now I am feeling OK and I have to be happy about that.”

Czech national champion Stybar also came away unscathed despite crashing earlier on in the race on the descent of the Capo Berta, which also saw the likes of Alex Dowsett (Movistar), Chris Juul-Jensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky) hit the deck.

Stybar was also left with regrets from the race after showing strong form coming into La Primavera, with a impressive win at Strade Bianche earlier in March.

“Today I was really unlucky, I crashed twice,” Stybar said.

“The first time I crashed on the downhill of the Capo Berta when other riders went down in front of me and I couldn’t avoid them. But I was fortunately able to get up and ride immediately. Then I crashed for the second time on the descent of the Poggio when someone crashed in front of Kwiato and I. At that point my race was over.

Milan-San Remo

Stybar follows an attack on the Poggio by Philippe Gilbert at the 2015 Milan-San Remo (Watson)

“I had good legs today and it’s a shame I couldn’t get to the finish and we couldn’t play all our cards,” he added, “even if because arriving in Via Roma after 300 kilometers of riding the sprint is always strange and anything can happen.

“But OK, that’s cycling. I have a few scratches on my knee and ribs, but nothing serious. So after today we just need to turn the page and see what we can do at the next races.”

  • Paul Jakma

    I’ve tried adding a link to a blog article of mine, that has further links to more rigorous studies, but it won’t let me. Googling my name and “helmet” would probably find it.

  • Paul Jakma

    I had a crash last year. Hit the rear windscreen with the front side of my head, broke my nose and got a few gashes. My headwear was damaged. Ergo, it must have saved me from worse (by some of the logic in this article).

    Lesson: Always wear a woollie hat when cycling!

    The serious point here is that one should try convince others with the most rigorous data available, not with anecdotes and woolie logic. The facts are that helmets appear to reduce head injuries a little. The risk of a head injury is somewhere around 25% to 60% greater without a helmet. On the flip side, they appear to increase the risk of facial and neck injuries slightly.

    The big thing to remember, however, is that head injuries are a very small proportion of all injuries. Say there are X head injuries, out of Y injuries overall, and lack of helmet increases X by 1.5, if Y is much greater than X then the relative effect on injuries overall of helmets can be negligible. E.g. if X is 2 and Y 600 (rough figures I got from someone involved in medical care in bicycle racing in Ireland), then without helmets there’d have been 1 extra head injury, so 3 out of 601.

    The point is that there is *far* more to bicycle safety than just helmets, as there is far more to your body than just your head. Injuries to your limbs, hips and spine can be as life-changing as a head injury. And injuries to those other parts of your body are far, *far* more common than head injuries – with or without a helmet.

    If you want to be safe, ride more slowly, take it easy on descents, watch where your going, and expect every vehicle on the road to suddenly pull out or stop in front you – no matter how unlikely it might seem.

  • David Chadderton

    QED. Is there anyone out there in the land of impervious self-important people who could never, ever, tumble from their bike because they are far too clever and untouchable, who think that helmets are not useful? No, I thought not.