Gert Steegmans Fractures Collarbone
Team RadioShack's Gert Steegmans fractured his left collarbone in today's prologue of the 2010 Paris-Nice.
Team RadioShack's Gert Steegmans fractured his left collarbone in today's prologue of the 2010 Paris-Nice. Steegmans was caught in a whirlwind while on his bike. The wind pulled him up off the ground while he was riding at 75 kilometers per hour (47 miles per hour) on a downhill section of the course. In addition to the fracture, Steegmans suffered from a big contusion of the shoulder muscle and has road rashes all over his body.
Driving in a RadioShack team car behind Steegmans was Sports Director Dirk Demol, who made the following comment about the accident, "Gert crashed on the descent of the first of two climbs, just on the fastest part where everyone was riding more than 70kph. There was an opening of maybe 20 meters between a house and a hedge. I saw the wind coming. Leaves and tree branches flew in the air and a second later Gert was lifted in the air too. He was blown away from the road and tumbled over and over many times. It was a terrible crash. I've never seen such a thing in my life. It took 12 minutes for the ambulance to arrive while we waited and could do nothing. Gert was screaming all the time. He seemed to have broken more than one thing. This is very bad news for him. He would have been our leader in the Classics."
The big contusion caused the extreme pain. Earlier this season in the 3rd stage of the 2010 Volta ao Algarve Steegmans crashed on his head. He recovered soon thereafter, but is now facing at least three weeks off the bike. The doctors hope he can train again soon thanks to osteosynthesis surgery (fixing his break with a plate and screws).
On Monday the Team Doctor will bring Gert Steegmans to the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-van-Lourdes Hospital in Waregem, Belgium, where Dr. Sioen will perform the shoulder operation.
Teammate Levi Leipheimer finished third after performing strongly in the second part of the course, six seconds behind prologue winner Lars Boom (Team Rabobank). Of all the favorites for the overall victory, Leipheimer was the 2nd fastest rider behind Team SaxoBank's Jens Voigt.