The Giant-Alpecin squad racing at the Tour Down Under today awoke to shocking news of a team training camp accident in which relatives and housemates of those competing in Australia were seriously injured in a head-on collision with a car.
Tour Down Under road captain Koen de Kort said riders were alerted of the accident shortly before 6am local time and then called off an unofficial spin before the sixth stage of the first WorldTour event of the season.
Classics champion John Degenkolb, Fredrick Ludvigsson, Chad Haga, Ramon Sinkeldam, Warren Barguil and Max Walscheid have all been treated for injuries, and some undergone surgery, following the incident in Calpe, Spain, according to official team medical updates.
Fredrick’s brother, Tobias, and Haga’s housemate, Carter Jones, both started the final stage of the Tour Down Under today in spite of the news.
“Bert de Backer and I decided not to go for a ride and [instead] sat with the team, Tobias especially, and talk through some things with the director and these guys and make sure everyone was OK,” de Kort said.
“I just hope these guys will be alright, healthy and back racing again soon. I think it’s really lucky that no one, from what it looks like now, has any lasting damage. It looks like they could all race again this season even. Let’s hope they can come back soon and that they’re not too scared on the road either.”
Degenkolb was among the athletes that required surgery following the accident. It’s not clear how it will affect his season and that of the others who have ambitions in spring races.
“From what I hear now at least four won’t be racing for a while with broken bones. It’s going to take a decent chunk out of the classics group that’s for sure,” de Kort said.