Ineos Grenadiers' Thymen Arensman after Vuelta a España crash: 'My helmet probably saved my life'

Ineos rider says he was "incredibly lucky" after emerging relatively unscathed from high-speed crash

Thymen Arensman receives treatment from medical staff following his crash
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ineos Grenadiers Thymen Arensman said that his helmet had probably saved his life when he crashed heavily five kilometres from the Vuelta a España’s stage seven finish in Oliva on Friday. 

"I can’t remember anything from what happened and woke up in the hospital, I must have been out for a few hours," the 23-year-old Dutchman said on Instagram.

He continued: "I’m not my most handsome self anymore with stitches and injuries to my face + missing a tooth, but I’ll take it. Probably my helmet saved my life."

Describing himself as "unbelievably lucky", Arensman was one of a number of riders who went down in a frantic finale to the stage that was eventually won by TotalEnergie’s Geoffrey Soupe. Ineos team leader Geraint Thomas was held up in the same incident, the delay costing the Welshman 24 seconds to his overall classification rivals.

As stage eight got under way, Arensman was preparing to return to the Netherlands with his girlfriend. In a video from the Ineos team hotel, he said that the incident had been "quite scary because I was out for a few hours, I was out for three or four hours maybe. But I think I’m super lucky, I didn’t break anything. I’m just not that handsome anymore."

Although x-rays had revealed that he hadn’t broken any bones in the high-speed impact, Arensman was wearing a neck brace in the video and admitted, "my whole body hurts a little bit – my knees, my arms, everywhere. But I think I’m just super lucky because it could have been really bad. Also my head hurts a little bit so I’m going to take it really easy now. I think if I wasn’t wearing a helmet, I don’t know if I’d still be here. I can really thank the helmet for that."

Arensman was the second rider that Ineos have lost in a crash during what was a difficult first week for the British team. His Belgian teammate Laurens De Plus had to abandon after going down in the rain-affected team time trial on day one in Barcelona, the impact leaving him with a broken hip.

Prior to being delayed by the incident that ended Arensman’s race, team leader Thomas also needed treatment after he hit the deck early in the stage, the Welshman’s knee the main focus for medical staff. 

"G’s first crash initially looked really bad, like he’d done his pelvis or something. He took some time to get up and when he got moving he felt really stiff and was a little bit scared for a while, even with 50 kilometres to go. We told him to try and survive," Ineos team director Steve Cummings told GCN.

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Peter Cossins has been writing about professional cycling since 1993, with his reporting appearing in numerous publications and websites including Cycling WeeklyCycle Sport and Procycling - which he edited from 2006 to 2009. Peter is the author of several books on cycling - The Monuments, his history of cycling's five greatest one-day Classic races, was published in 2014, followed in 2015 by Alpe d’Huez, an appraisal of cycling’s greatest climb. Yellow Jersey - his celebration of the iconic Tour de France winner's jersey won the 2020 Telegraph Sports Book Awards Cycling Book of the Year Award.