As the Jumbo-Visma trio of Timo Roosen, Edoardo Affini and Chris Harper rode unchallenged across the finish line of stage two at the Vuelta a Burgos, securing the team all three steps on the podium, they celebrated what they thought was a dominant victory.
However, they were unaware of the carnage that had ensued behind. Their teammate David Dekker had hit a speed bump just 700m from the finish resultign in a mass pile-up.
Jumbo-Visma were looking to lead out the sprint for Dekker in the closing stages of the race, but, after a short descent and the pace ever-increasing, the Dutchman hit a speed bump and lost control of his bike, creating a domino-effect of riders falling behind him.
Roosen, Affini and Harper didn't know this, though, and came in for criticism on social media for their celebrations. Affini responded, before addressing the UCI with a damning indictment.
"Before everyone starts writing bulls**t on here, I want to make it clear: I was doing a full lead-out effort. I have seen a teammate passing me with 200m to go and I celebrated, yes. I really didn't have idea of the huge carnage behind us," he said on Twitter (opens in new tab).
"I feel very sorry and sad for everyone involved and I hope no one is badly injured. Dear UCI, after all that happened already, to allow a finish with a speed bump so high in the last 800m coming from a super high speed section is a disgrace. Unacceptable."
Jumbo-Visma sports director Addy Engels also attempted to clarify the celebrations.
"It was going perfectly for our team," he said. "Then, unfortunately, it went badly wrong. David has quite a few abrasions, although he doesn't seem to have broken anything. We may have become one, two and three, but that doesn't give a euphoric feeling in this case.
"Our riders had no idea what had happened behind them. That did sink in afterwards. It's top sport and we ride to win, but we'd rather not win this way."
With Dekker losing control of his bike, which went above his head at one point, Davide Ballerini (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) fell hard, unable to avoid the sprawling Dekker. He suffered a haematoma to his right gluteus, as well multiple abrasions, while his teammate, Jannik Steimle, broke his right collarbone as he couldn't escape the chaos of the crash.
Multiple other riders headed into the roadside barriers to take avoiding action as best they could, too. Indeed, Ballerini's fall caused AG2R Citroën rider Damien Touzé to be thrown over the barriers and into the spectators. Fortunately, no one was stood in the path of the oncoming rider, but the Frenchman went to hospital for treatment.
His team said Touzé suffered a head trauma and, consequently, a concussion. His teammate Clément Berthet was also involved in the crash, fracturing a finger which needed an operation.
Bora-Hansgrohe pair Wilco Keldermann and Jai Hindley both fell during the crash, but managed to come away only with scrapes and bruises. Caja Rural-Seguros RGA duo David Gonzalez and Orluis Aular weren't afforded such lucky escapes, with the former dislocating his elbow while the latter suffered a scaphoid fracture (a small bone in the wrist).
David Dekker, who set off the series of crashes through no fault of his own, managed to come away from his fall unscathed.
"I am 'okay' considering what happened," Dekker said on Twitter (opens in new tab). "Seems nothing is broken, except my morale, but I have a lot of wounds.
"I did not see the speed bump coming and with that high speed in a downhill section I lost complete control. I sincerely hope everybody involved is okay and will recover soon. Thank you all for your messages."
Cycling Weekly has contacted both the UCI and the race organiser for comment.
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Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.
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