Stijn Steels suffers broken bones in shocking Ghent Six pileup

Belgian rider caught up in heavy crash in the velodrome and taken away on a stretcher

Stijn Steels
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Belgian rider Stijn Steels has suffered three broken ribs, two broken vertebrae and a lung contusion after a heavy crash at Ghent Six last night in the opening madison. 

Steel’s road team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl confirmed the extent of his injuries this morning on social media, but said that no surgery or further intervention was required. 

A statement from the team (opens in new tab) read: "Following his crash in Zesdaagse Geent, Stijn Steels was examined last night. He has a lung contusion, broken three ribs and two vertebrae. 

“The fractures are stable & as of this moment no operation or further intervention is required. Join us in wishing Stijn a complete recovery.”

After being caught up in the nasty crash, Steels was taken away on a stretcher to hospital, although was conscious and able to wave to crowds as he was carried away. 

The Belgian rider also shared a brief message (opens in new tab) on Twitter: “The scans did not bring good news. With pain in my heart (and in the rest of the body) I have to give up in the six days. Thanks again to everyone for all the support, everything will be fine."

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The shocking incident at Ghent-Six came halfway through the first major point scoring event of the evening for the elite men’s field. The Sport Vlaanderen duo of Jules Hesters and Tom Torn Teutenberg had difficulty in an exchange causeing them both to hit the boards. 

Fabio Van den Bossche attempted to evade the stricken pair but crashed too, directly in the path of Steels, forcing them both to crash down the track in Kuipke. 

After a brief break in proceedings, racing resumed and the Baloise Insurance pair of Lindsay De Vylder and Robbe Ghys took the 20 points needed for victory ahead of Iljo Keisse and Jasper De Buyst. 

Van den Bossche was able to continue and finished third with his partner Yoeri Havik while Steels and his teammate Silvan Dillier were classified three laps behind. 

With the opening day out of the way, Great Britain's Ethan Hayter and Fred Wright sit fourth in the general classification on 37 points. 

Both riders managed to avoid being caught up in the incident.  

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