Health comes first for Latvian rider

Cannondale-Drapac have provided an update on the condition of Toms Skujins after he crashed heavily at the Tour of California.

Clearly suffering from concussion, the Latvian rider struggled to remount his bike and gingerly continued to ride for short distance before his team pulled him out of the race.

“Toms’ crash obviously had a huge impact on us today. It was a high-speed crash and unfortunately it happened at a time when the race was fragmented, which delays information and makes these situations extremely hard,” said sports director Tom Southam.

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“Toms instinctively continued riding but it was clear that he couldn’t go on. It’s a blow for the team and for his own ambitions but that was a serious fall, and racing can take a back seat while he heals.”

Team boss Jonathan Vaughters was at the race, but not in the team car, and had to contact his team’s sports directors to get them to pull Skujins out of the race after seeing the pictures on TV.

Toms Skujins after crashing on stage two of the 2017 Tour of California (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Vaughters said that Skujins was now on the team’s internal concussion protocol, which will see him work closely with the team’s medical staff as he recovers.”Our internal concussion program is designed to slow things down and give the rider time to recover properly,” said Vaughters.

“Concussion recovery varies from person to person and from day to day. We’ll evaluate Toms daily and he’ll need to pass a cognitive test before he returns to hard training or racing. His health is the most important thing to all of us.”

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As for the rider himself, Skujins said that he was feeling OK and was grateful for messages of support he had received, although was unable to respond as looking at screens can slow recovery from concussion.

“I’m feeling alright,” said Skujins, who also suffered a collarbone fracture and road rash in the crash. “I’m really bummed, of course. Besides that, I’m healthy. I’m good.

“We’ll assess with the team doctors and figure things out moving forward. Thank you to all the messages from my fans and my friends — but I won’t be able to answer them because I shouldn’t be looking at my phone.”