A massive pile-up at an Australian race left one rider in a coma and many others with broken bones.
The final day of the National Road Series was subsequently cancelled after the crash on the penultimate stage, when the peloton hit a stationary motorbike that was out of sight around a corner.
With crosswinds buffeting the bunch, the peloton was lined out on the left-hand side of the road, then taking a left corner and colliding with a motorbike stopped just around that bend.
The riders at the front were able to swerve and avoid the vehicle, despite travelling at around 60km/h, but soon after the riders with a more restricted view of the road ahead couldn’t avoid the collision.
According to SBS, the police moto had apparently stopped in order to prevent a driver from continuing out onto the course, after the person had ignored directions to stop and wait for the race to pass.
25-year-old Ben Carman was among a number of riders unable to get back up and continue, quickly flown to hospital in a helicopter having suffered a compound fracture to his leg and placed in an induced coma.
Injuries among other riders include a fractured pelvis, fractured tibia, broken collarbones and a serious leg gash. The police officer on the motorbike was treated for an arm injury.
Carman had an operation to repair his tibia, fibula and patella, and was placed in the induced coma because of the pain levels he was experiencing.
Later on Sunday, Carman’s team posted a picture of him awake in bed giving a thumbs up, having come out of surgery.
In other Australian racing news, four-day National Road Series stage races will replace the cancelled Tour Down Under in January. A Willunga Hill stage will still be included, and the ‘Santos Festival of Cycling’ will run over the last week of the month and also include track, cyclocross and mountain bike events.