By Gregor Brown
Brit James Knox considers himself lucky to still be in the 2019 Vuelta a España after crashing during stage seven on the way to the Mas de la Costa climb.
The Deceuninck-Quick - Step rider crashed mid-way through the stage won by Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), having also taken a tumble on stage four of the 2019 Giro d'Italia this May, causing him to eventually abandon, so Knox is well aware of the risks.
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"Yeah, my crash was a bit of a 'one of those' racing incidents. Everyone was on the right-hand side and Movistar were lining it out," Knox told Cycling Weekly. "There was a bush coming onto the road and everyone was looking around at the last minute.
"By the time it came to me I was maybe about 50th wheel and I didn't get round it in time. I hit the handlebars and wiped out. I crashed pretty fast but came away quite lucky."
Knox, however, remained in the race despite television graphics briefly saying he had abandoned. That mixed message worried his parents, who had travelled to see him at the Vuelta and were waiting at the roadside on the finishing climb.
"I received some messages last night but the worst bit was my mum and dad are here, they were watching on the last climb and then they got message that said I had abandoned," Knox said.
"So they left and went to find the team bus and get an update. So they were pretty worried to be honest, which wasn't very nice.
"There wasn't any further information because obviously it was incorrectly broadcast that I had abandoned. So they were left not knowing what was going on. And the guys from the team were just like, 'no, I don't know, I think he's still in the race.' It was not fun for them."
Instead of seeing their son compete in a Grand Tour, they were at the bus trying to find out more information, worried he was okay. "And then they miss me on the climb," Knox added.
The Vuelta is 23-year-old Knox's second Grand Tour after this year's Giro, currently racing in Spain for Deceuninck - Quick-Step alongside stars such as Philippe Gilbert and Zdeněk Štybar.
"Obviously, it's pretty tough," Knox said of the Vuelta. "The heat is difficult but I'm just cracking on with it for now."
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