Tour de France debutant Kasper Asgreen was hospitalised after a bad crash on stage three that left his bike in pieces.
The Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider had worked on the front of the peloton for much of the day, setting up his team-mate Julian Alaphilippe for a phenomenal victory.
But disaster tempered the celebration, when news emerged that Asgreen hit a traffic sign in the final kilometres and was being taken to hospital.
He was able to finish the stage and was seen walking to an ambulance with cuts to his face.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step released a statement on Monday evening (July 8), saying that the team’s medical staff would monitor Asgreen overnight. He was able to start the following stage.
After the stage a picture of Asgreen’s shattered bike emerged on social media, showing the frame in broken in half and major damage to the front wheel.
Quick-Step rider Michael Mørkøv was in the same group as Asgreen when he fell and told broadcaster TV 2 Sport: “It was a really ugly crash, but I’ve heard he should be okay.”
Asgreen was able to finish the stage, albeit 20 minutes behind the stage winner and six minutes after the last group.
Team boss Patrick Lefevere said: “I’ve heard Kasper Asgreen had a really bad crash. When the team say it’s bad it’s bad. I hope he can recover.”
Alaphilippe rode to a magnificent solo victory on stage three to Épernay, attacking on the Côte de Mutigny with 16km left to race.
Michael Matthews (Sunweb) finished second, leading the bunch over the line 26 seconds behind the Frenchman, with Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) third and Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) closing out the top five.
Alaphilippe also took the yellow jersey, becoming the first Frenchman in five years to lead the Tour.
Asgreen has been a strong young performer this season, finishing second in the Tour of Flanders before going on to take his first pro win on stage two of the Tour of California on the savage South Lake Tahoe stage, eventually finishing third overall.
The 24-year-old is also an emerging time trial star, with a second place on the ITT at the Tour de Suisse before victory in the Danish national TT championships last month.