Bernhard Eisel was forced to withdraw from Tirreno-Adriatico on Sunday after a collision with a team car during the Italian stage race – which Eisel says was his fault.
The 37-year-old Austrian Dimension Data rider suffered an injury to his right wrist, and several injuries to his face.
Eisel says the incident happened when he came into contact with another team’s car during the stage from Castelraimondo to Filottrano.
“It was a massive crash – it seems like my nose is broken – and I have quite a lot of pain in my right wrist. I’m actually happy that I got out of it like this, it doesn’t look great at the moment and my face has seen better days but to be honest I’m super happy to have got out alive.
“I’m not great at the moment; I’ve got a few stitches in my nose, lips and my face,” Eisel said on Monday.
— Team Dimension Data (@TeamDiData) March 12, 2018
“I also want to clarify that I touched a team car, from another team. It was absolutely not the driver’s fault, it was my fault, so there’s no speculation (in that regard). I pretty much rode into him and went down from there. He couldn’t do anything but after the crash he supported me as much as he could.”
Eisel said that he has reflected on the incident, in particular as it happened on the stage that was dedicated to Michele Scarponi, who lost his life after a collision with a car during a training ride in 2017. The stage finished in Scarponi’s hometown of Filottrano.
“Yesterday I reflected a lot on Michele Scarponi; my dad passed away two weeks ago and Michele passed away a year ago in a road accident and I think we have to be aware to say it’s not always the fault of car drivers,” said Eisel.
“I made a big mistake yesterday and I nearly paid for it. To drivers please be careful as we share the roads, but that plea also goes to the riders to ensure that we respect each other.”
Dimension Data team medic Dr Jarrad van Zuydam said that although it was initially suspected that Eisel had fractured his wrist, X-rays did not show a break.
“Bernie had a bad crash and I spent some time with him at the hospital,” said van Zuydam. “The RCS (organisers) released a statement saying that he had fractured his wrist but that was premature as the X-rays don’t show any clear fracture. We need to get a CT scan done, which will happen this afternoon (Monday) and will ascertain as to whether he has any significant wrist injury.
“His facial injuries are okay and were sutured very carefully by a plastic surgeon, those will heal well. He’s quite lucky and he’ll be back on the bike as soon as possible.”
Eisel’s crash and abandon from Tirreno-Adriatico comes after team-mate Mark Cavendish also abandoned the race after crashing during the opening stage’s team time trial. Cavendish suffered facial injuries and a fractured rib, but the team says that he is now back in training.
Dimension Data also lost another rider from the race on Sunday’s stage five, as Mark Renshaw abandoned due to suffering from sinusitis.