Danish rider Jesper Hansen (Tinkoff-Saxo) was knocked to the floor during stage two of the Tour de Romandie on Wednesday by one of the very people there to help him – a race medic.
Hansen had just remounted from an earlier crash in the last 30 kilometres of the stage, and was working his way back up through some vehicles that had stopped to attend to the crashed riders.
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An official black Skoda medical car was pulled up at the left-hand side of the road, but the occupant opened his door just as Hansen was riding past – bringing the 24-year-old to an abrupt halt. It appears as though the driver had not checked his mirror or over his shoulder before opening the door.
Hansen soon picked himself up, and although he appeared to have an injury to his left shoulder, he remounted and continued in the race, finishing in a group 15 minutes behind stage winner Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge).
Hansen’s Tinkoff-Saxo team issued a statement on Wednesday night regarding his injuries: “[Hansen] was examined by the team doctor and the initial assessment is positive as no serious injuries were found. His condition will be evaluated again tomorrow morning”.
Canadian Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEdge) had also been involved in the original crash, but he too finished the stage without serious injury.
The issue of rider safety around race vehicles has been in the headlines recently, in particular after a pair of incidents in the Tour of Flanders involving Shimano neutral service cars. Jesse Sergent and Sebastian Chavanel were both knocked to the floor by vehicles during the race in separate incidents. Sergent sustained a broken collarbone.