Matt Stephens is facing a long spell off the bike following an horrific crash in last Sunday’s Paris- Troyes.
The Sigma Sport- Specialized rider fractured his tibia and suffered internal bleeding after hitting a metal road sign during the one-day race.
He may have also suffered cruciate ligament damage, but is currently awaiting an MRI scan to prove if this is the case.
Stephens, who faces a minimum of eight weeks on the sidelines, described the crash to CW.
“It was unusual, as the field were on a long – but straight – descent,” he said.
“The road clearly had some recently-laid tarmac on it, and as it had been raining this was extremely slippery.
“As soon as one rider towards the front of the 170-man peloton went down, the inevitable chain reaction followed.
“I swerved to avoid the rider in front of me, and tried getting onto a grass verge, but in doing so I hit the square pole at some considerable speed.”
Initially, the only visible damage was to Stephens’ shin, which was cut open.
However, it wasn’t long before the former national road race champion’s knee swelled-up to what he described as “the size of my thigh.”
Because so many riders came down in the crash, he was taken to hospital in a Fire Engine-Ambulance, run by local volunteers.
His knee was x-rayed, but was found not to be broken, and he left hospital at 9pm that night.
“It was strange leaving because, after four hours since I arrived at the hospital, there were still riders waiting to be treated,” Stephens said.
Upon his return to England, he visited his local GP, who referred him straight to hospital, where the extent of his injuries was revealed.
If the MRI scan proves he has cruciate damage, he may require an operation that will further delay his return to racing.
Having started the season strongly – he finished ninth in the recent Eddie Soens– Stephens will have to manage the team from his home over the next few weeks.
Ironically, he had already ruled himself out of riding in this year’s Tour Series because he had suffered from too many crashes.
“It’s a big aim for the team this year, and we’ve got some fresh young riders who deserve a chance to take part in the series.
“While we know that Motorpoint, Rapha Condor- Sharp and Endura are the teams to beat, we’ve got a positive attitude and we want to go better than our forth place last year.
“Both an individual and team victory in at least one of the rounds would be nice – but if we can be consistent, we will be in with a chance of doing well.
“Because of the gulf in points, if a team has one or two bad nights, it’s game over for them.”
Stephens hopes that strong performances in the city-centre based series in May and June, along with the Premier Calendar, will be enough for Sigma Sport to be selected for this year’s Tour of Britain.
British News Round-up, 11 March