Laurens Ten Dam has suffered a broken vertebrae after being hit from behind by an elderly motorist with a wooden leg who, according to the rider, was travelling in excess of 80kph.
The Dutchman was training near Maastricht when he was hit by the car on a route popular with cyclists in the area as a shortcut to the Ardennes area. Ten Dam said it was ‘like an attack’ as the motorist hit him from behind.
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Ten Dam has been training for the Vuelta a España since finishing the Tour de France on July 26, but his participation in the Spanish race now looks very unlikely.
“The man who has hit me is 84 years old and has a wooden leg. That’s not a joke,” Ten Dam told 1Limburg. “He never saw me and was driving behind me at 80 kilometers per hour when he crashed into me. It was like an attack.”
The 34-year-old, who finished eighth overall in the Vuelta in 2012, suffered back and elbow injuries in Wednesday’s accident and was taken to hospital for treatment.
Ten Dam was able to keep a sense of humour about the situation, tweeting that he had now left hospital but has to wear a corset for his back injury, leading him to joke about what his next race will be.
While the LottoNL-Jumbo team have been struggling for wins this season, their riders have been prominent at the two Grand Tours so far this year.
Steven Kruijswijk finished seventh overall at the Giro d’Italia after several impressive breakaway rides in the mountains – coming third in the climber’s competition.
Ten Dam then helped Robert Gesink to sixth at the Tour de France and the team finished ninth in the team time trial on stage nine.
With Ten Dam’s setback the team may have to reevaluate its Vuelta plans, although their full team has yet to be announced.