Promising British rider nearly loses eye after crash at Tour de l'Avenir

Ben Turner has been forced to abandon the race, which uncovers cycling stars of the future, after a crash in the opening prologue

Ben Turner
(Image credit: Getty)

Promising British rider Ben Turner has been forced to abandon the Tour de l'Avenir after nearly losing an eye in a crash during the opening prologue.

The 22-year-old, racing for the Great Britain national team, finished the 5km-long race against the clock in last place after crashing on a downhill corner and into a sign.

He has suffered multiple fractures to the left side of his face and a broken nose, forcing him out after the opening day.

"All the hard work went into going for a proper ride on the opening prologue of Tour de l'Avenir," Turner said. 

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"Sadly I over-committed, crashed in a downhill corner and went into a sign causing multiple fractures to the left side of my face and breaking my nose," Turner said. 

"I guess it wasn’t meant to be but hopefully the recovery will go smoothly and I’ll be back on the bike at some point."

Turner also gave credit to his time trial helmet, without which, he says, would have "100%" caused him to lose an eye.

"Shout out to my Specialized TT helmet... would have 100% lost my eye without the visor and probably had a brain injury," he said. "Always wear a helmet."

Turner's departure leaves the GB squad, led by sports director Matt Brammeier, with five riders -  Groupama-FDJ's Lewis Askey, Ethan Vernon, Oliver Stockwell, Robert Donaldson and Thomas Gloag.

The 2021 Tour de l'Avenir runs for 10 stages, including the prologue and team time trial on stage two, on which Britain finished more than two minutes behind stage winners the Netherlands.

Stage seven will see the riders tackle a summit finish atop the Grand Colombier, while the final stage nine will provide a last GC test as the peloton first take on the HC-climb of the Col de l'Iseran before a summit finish up the Col du Petit Saint-Bernard.

Jonny Long

Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.


Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).


I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.