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United States | Southeast | Virginia >> Horror Crash takes out Tour De France Favorites Vingegaard and Evenepoel

Horror Crash takes out Tour De France Favorites Vingegaard, Evenepoel and Vine

Horrific high speed mass crash saw stage four of the Tour of the Basque Country cancelled. Vingegaard, Evenepoel, Vine and Cras taken to hospital. Vingegaard breaks collarbone and several ribs. Jay Vine fractures his hip and spine. Evenepoel fractures his collarbone. Roglic abandons the race.

Several of the 12 riders involved in the crash fell into a concrete ditch after sliding off on a corner with around 35 kilometres to go in the run from Etxarri Aranatz to Legutio, in northern Spain.

The 2022 and 2023 Tour de France champion Vingegaard was taken to an ambulance on a stretcher and required oxygen rushing him to hospital as the incident meant the race was halted. Team Visma | Lease a Bike have just confirmed "Vingegaard has broken a collarbone and several broken ribs."

Belgian Evenepoel was walking but his team Soudal Quick Step confirmed he was also going to hospital. “Remco will return to Belgium tomorrow to be operated on a broken collarbone and pass further tests at the hospital at Herentals,” his Soudal-Quick Step team announced. His injuries have ruled him out of upcoming one-day classics in the Netherlands and Belgium.

UAE Team Emirates said their Australian rider Jay Vine was also taken to hospital but was conscious and talking, along with Team TotalEnergies rider Cras. "Jay Vine suffered a heavy crash today during the race and sustained a cervical and two thoracic spine vertebral body fractures," team doctor Adrian Rotunno said. "Thankfully no neurological involvement, and there are no other major injuries or head trauma." Vine is now set to spent a long time away from the bike after very difficult injuries and it is unclear when he will return to competition. He will certainly miss the Giro d'Italia which starts in the space of one month, where he was to be a key domestique for Tadej Pogacar in the mountains. "Jay will stay in hospital for neurological observation. We await spinal orthopaedic assessment and further management," Rotunno concluded.

The crash happened on the descent from the Alto de Olaeta after a rider in the front of the peloton slid off the road on a right-hand bend. Danish Visma-Lease a Bike rider Vingegaard, Remco Evenepoel, Jay Vine and Steff Cras were among several riders who were taken to hospital following the incident, while Primoz Roglic was also involved in the crash. Sean Quinn, Alexander Cepeda, and Natnael Tesfatsion also required roadside treatment.

Roglic, who abandoned the race, offered a thumbs up while sitting in the Bora-Hansgrohe team car, to show he was not significantly injured. Earlier Thursday Roglic's team-mate Lennard Kamna was in a "stable condition" in intensive care after a collision with a car during a training ride in Tenerife.

Roglic, also fell the day before on Wednesday in stage three but quickly recovered, was leading the overall standings from Evenepoel by seven seconds at the start of racing on Thursday.

The incident occurred while the riders were descending off a climb. One rider appeared to slide out in the corner, causing many others to lose control behind them.

Both Vingegaard and Roglic then hit what appeared to be a concrete draining ditch. Evenepoel was able to avoid the ditch but was forced to ride wide through a wooded area where he was then unable to remain upright.

Now it appears that three of those four riders could miss the race altogether or have their preparation for the race, which begins on June 29th, significantly altered.

Tadej Pogacar, who won both the 2020 and 2021 Tours de France, was not present at Itzulia Basque Country.

Race organizers at Itzulia Basque Country neutralized the race following the crash, meaning the remaining riders did not race the remainder of the stage, instead finishing as a group.

Mattias Skjelmose can now call himself the new leader of the Tour of the Basque Country, but the Dane from Lidl-Trek will not wear this first leader's jersey with pride. Skjelmose's teammate, Natnael Tesfatsion, was one of the first to hit the asphalt, the Danish champion also observed. "We were descending after the first steep climb and the road was very bumpy while we were fighting for positions. Unfortunately, we were going a bit too fast and that caused some riders to fall, after which more followed...", Skjelmose shares his side of the story.

"It was very unfortunate and I don’t think it was anyone's fault," Skjelmose states, seeking explanations for the many crashes in recent weeks. "To be honest, indeed, there are a lot of falls in this race. I am somewhat surprised by that, coming from the always nervous Paris-Nice." Earlier, riders including David Gaudu and Tom Pidcock had already dropped out, while Roglic, like Juan Ayuso among others, had also hit the ground on Wednesday