Two legal cases pending against 73-year-old British woman who drove her car into the Giant-Alpecin team while they were training in Spain during January
The 73-year-old was charged after she ran into the cyclists, including star John Degenkolb, while they trained inland from Spain’s Costa Blanca. She faces a criminal case in Dénia and a civil case for damages.
“We just hope that after what was already a traumatic situation that the insurance company will deal with it in a good way,” Giant-Alpecin General Manager Iwan Spekenbrink told Cycling Weekly.
“It’s not just the damages requested, but people need closure. We go training in Calpe, other teams do too, teams go there to chase new goals, but if you go there and re-live trauma, that’s not what you want. We need closure and need to get this behind us.”
Spekenbrink would not say how much the team’s lawyer, which is representing the six riders, is seeking in damages.
The woman was formally charged on April 29 with imprudence and recklessness. The criminal case will begin in December.
She crossed from the opposite side of the CV-720 provincial road leading to Alicante, near Benigembla, and drove into Giant’s elite group. German John Degenkolb, winner of the 2015 Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix, suffered a fractured forearm and nearly lost his left index finger. American Chad Haga fractured his eye socket, Max Walscheid his tibia and thumb.
“We all could have died,” said Frenchman Warren Barguil, who broke his left scaphoid. Teammates Fredrik Ludvigsson and Ramon Sinkeldam were also involved. A seventh cyclist, Søren Kragh Andersen avoided the car.
“Parallel to the hearing in December, our lawyer is speaking to those with the insurance company,” Spekenbrink said. “The lady is also a victim, she’s in her 70s, she didn’t want to cause such trauma to a group of 20-year-olds.
“We can only hope that the insurance company will show a human side. We hope for the team, for the riders and for the lady, that we can get this behind us.”
All six cyclists involved returned to racing this season, Walscheid won five stages in last week’s Tour of Hainan. However, the incident meant that Giant were without their ace Degenkolb in the spring classics and lost important WorldTour points. They finished 16th in the rankings.
Degenkolb next year will race for Trek-Segafredo. Sunweb-Giant, the team’s name for 2017, will bring in Michael Matthews from team Orica-BikeExchange. They plan to return to Calpe for their training camps regardless of the traumatic incident.