Ian Wilkinson (Halfords Bikehut) crossed the line in Blackpool at the end of stage four of the Tour of Britain in a mask of pain, with blood running down his leg.
The hardman from Barnoldswick is never scared to have a go in a sprint but crashed heavily 500 metres from the finish just when the sprint was about to explode. He hit his left knee, hip and elbow on impact and other riders crashed on top of him.
Wilkinson got up and finished several minutes down but he and everyone else involved in the crash was awarded the same time as stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia).
Race doctor Dave Hulse treated Wilkinson after the stage. Fortunately most of his wounds were not serious but his left elbow was painful and may be fractured. Halfords directeur sportif Keith Lambert quickly arranged to get Wilkinson to hospital for x-rays.
“I could have won that…” Wilkinson told Cycling Weekly as he grimaced in pain.
“It’s hurting and I’ve got some palpitations. My elbow is pretty bad and I’m in shock a bit too.”
He kindly explained how the crash happened.
“I was in the thick of the sprint with 500 to go but there was a pincer movement in the bunch. Someone came into me and I went down. Then three other people landed on me.”
“I was right in there, in a mega spot. I was happy with it and was ready to go for the win. But then two lines came together. It shouldn’t happen but it does. Everyone wants to be in the right place but it’s s**t or bust. You put yourself in position to try and win but it’s always risky.”
“We’ll see what they say in hospital. I’m sore but I want to stay in the race if I can.”