Luis Ángel Maté needed 50 stitches in his head and was hospitalised overnight following a crash at the Tour of Poland, with the Spaniard saying his helmet saved his life.
The crash, which occurred with 20km of racing left, also claimed his Cofidis team-mate Filippo Fortin, who suffered four broken ribs, with both riders abandoning the race.
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Maté suffered a severe blow to the head that caused a major haemorrhage. Luckily, the Spaniard was able to rest well on his first night in hospital and is recovering well.
Somehow Maté didn’t suffer a fracture or lose consciousness during the crash. He did, however, require 50 stitches to close the wound on his head. Fortin was less fortunate and required surgery for his broken ribs.
“The helmet saved my life. I lost a lot of blood and most likely I have to stay a couple of days under observation,” Maté said. “Now I’ll just focus on resting, recovering and riding my bike as soon as possible.”
Maté’s crash has come at an unfortunate time, three weeks to the day before the main goal of his season – the Vuelta a España – but the 35-year-old hopes to recover in time for the start of the Spanish Grand Tour.
The Cofidis rider held the King of the Mountains jersey from stage three until stage 16 at last year’s race, before ceding it to Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal).
Another pro recently requiring stitches in their head was Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida), although the Belgian’s injury occurred in slightly more bizarre circumstances.
Teuns was involved in a tractor accident while gardening at his home in Halen, Belgium at the end of July. The 27-year-old winner of stage six of the Tour de France on La Planche des Belles Filles banged his face on the steering wheel of the tractor when it stopped suddenly.