Trek-Segafredo may have enjoyed a dream start to the year with six wins to their name already in 2018, but things didn’t go quite so well for Luxembourgish rider Laurent Didier on stage one of the Herald Sun Tour on Thursday.
As crosswinds ripped the race to pieces with around 30km to go on the 161.6km stage between Colac to Warrnambool, Didier was one of a number of riders brought down in crashes as riders scrambled to hold the wheels.
Didier hit the deck in a crash with three Australian riders, Thomas Kaeslar and Jesse Featonby from the Drapac EF-Cannondale team and Benjamin Andrews who rides for Oliver’s Real Food, with photos from the scene showing Didier and Andrews to be quickly back on their feet while Kaeslar and Featonby appeared dazed sitting on the ground.
Unfortunately for Didier, while he had escaped serious injury, his Trek Emonda Disc bike was not quite so lucky, lying on the road in two pieces held together with nothing but a hydraulic disc brake hose after it had been snapped clean in half by the crash.
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Incredibly all four riders involved in the nasty crash were able to finish the stage, with Andrews finishing just over nine minutes back from stage winner Lasse Norman Hansen, Didier finishing 15 minutes back, and Kaeslar and Featonby being the last two riders on the road, both crossing the line more than 24 minutes in arrears.
Unfortunately the injuries to his back, elbow, leg and hand that Didier sustained in the crash, although not serious, meant that he was not able to start Friday’s stage two. However the remaining riders in the crash were able to start the stage, with Featonby even finishing in the front group as Didier’s team-mate Mads Pedersen took the stage win.