Paris – 7th March, 2010 – Team RadioShack’s Gert Steegmans broke his left collarbone in the Prologue of Paris-Nice. Steegmans was caught in a whirlwind while on his bike. The wind picked him up off the ground while he was going 75kph/47mph 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 rash all over his body.
Driving behind Steegmans was Director Dirk Demol, who said, “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 Tour of Algarve Steegmans crashed on his head. He recovered soon but now will be out for at least three weeks. The doctors hope he can train again soon thanks to osteosynthesis (fixing his break with a plate and screws).
On Monday the Team Doctor will bring Steegmans to the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-van-Lourdes Hospital in Waregem, Belgium, where Dr. Sioen will perform the shoulder operation.
In the Prologue of Paris-Nice Levi Leipheimer, performing extra-strong in the second part of the course, finished third at six seconds behind winner Lars Boom. Of all the favorites for the overall victory, Leipheimer was the fastest rider. Also Jani Brajkovic (11th) and Chris Horner (16) confirmed their good form.
Photo by: CorVos Pro