Remco Evenepoel says his helmet “saved his life” after he was caught in a high-speed pile up at the Tour of Norway.
The Belgian was caught in the crash during the closing 500 metres of the opening stage, hitting the ground with several other riders.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider Evenepoel was able to re-mount his bike and finish the stage, the team later confirming he hadn’t suffered any serious injuries.
In Twitter post, the 19-year-old said: “This Specialized helmet saved my life today.
“Again proof to wear a helmet on every ride.”
A picture of the helmet shows major scrapes and damage to the top and front of the helmet.
The stage was won by Sunweb’s Cees Bol, while Quick-Step’s sprinter Álvaro Hodeg missed out on the dash for the line after being boxed in.
Colombian Hodeg said: “ It was cold out there, but the team did a great job, pulling behind the escapees and reeling them in inside the last 10km.
“With just two kilometres to go, Davide and Yves brought me in a perfect position and I safely navigated the finishing straight, but just as I was about to open my sprint, a rider closed me and I couldn’t go.
“That’s cycling, sometimes it smiles on you, sometimes it doesn’t. All we can do is try again tomorrow.”
Quick-Step said Evenepoel would be monitored by medical staff overnight and on the morning ahead of stage two.
Evenepoel’s WorldTour career got off to a painful start when he crashed out of the UAE Tour earlier this year.
He then took to social media to criticise race motorbikes, saying riders should have “more respect for the peloton.”
The revelation is still waiting for his maiden victory, having finished third in the individual time trial at the Vuelta a San Juan and finishing fourth on the queen stage of the Tour of Turkey.