A Danish pro who used to ride for Saxo-Tinkoff has been forced to retire after suffering a severe concussion in a crash and still experiencing symptoms nine months later.
Troels Vinther announced his retirement on Facebook, the 32-year-old calling time on a 13-year professional career, having spent the last four years with ProTeam Riwal Readynez.
Vinther crashed during the French cobbled one-day race GP de Denain on March 24, putting a premature end to his season and also now his entire career.
“2019 has been a nightmare for me. After a crash in March, I suffered a severe concussion, I haven’t been able to ride 100% since then,” Vinther said. “I have symptoms every day, now nine months later. My career as a cyclist is over.”
“Even worse is the uncertainty. Can I ever push my body again, get my heart rate high, and feel alive as before? It’s been a terrible year to get through. Far more difficult than my relatives are aware of,” he added.
Vinther rode for a number of Danish teams during his career and participated in the Tour of Denmark ten times, which was most recently won by Niklas Larsen, who would go on to break his ankle in a freak dancing accident.
“It is with deep sadness that in this way I have to say goodbye to the sport I love,” Vinther said.
In May this year, British Cycling introduced a new concussion protocol – months after the death of 23-year-old US track cyclist Kelly Catlin.
Three-time world champion Catlin died by suicide in March this year, and though no definite link can be drawn between her head injury and her death, family members reported that her personality changed after she sustained concussion in the accident.
Trek-Segafredo’s Toms Skujiņš also suffered a serious concussion at the Tour of California in 2017. In the aftermath, television cameras showed horrifying footage of the Latvian stumbling across the road, narrowly missing descending riders as he tried to cross back over to his team car.
“I rode for another 10 to 15 kilometres that I actually don’t recall at all,” Skujiņš told Cycling Weekly. “Once I realised where I was and registered my surroundings, I was pretty ready to step off the bike.”