NANCY, France (VN) — Garmin-Sharp lost its GC captain, Ryder Hesjedal to injury overnight, but team boss Jonathan Vaughters clarified Saturday that Johan Van Summeren and Tom Danielson were not knocked unconscious in Friday’s horrific crash that derailed the team’s GC ambitions.
The Tour’s official medical communique Friday said that both Van Summeren and Danielson, who did not finish the stage, were briefly unconscious in the aftermath of their crash, something that Vaughters said is not true.
”Van Summeren absolutely did not lose consciousness,” Vaughters told VeloNews. “He definitely crashed and his helmet was knocked off his head and he was cut up but he did not lose consciousness.”
Vaughters wanted to clarify the status of both riders in light of recent episodes in which teams allowed riders to continue in a race after suffering head injuries in crashes. Vaughters said Garmin-Sharp team doctors have a strict policy of pulling riders out of races if they suspect any hint of head injury.
“Our doctors will examine our riders after a crash. If we think there has been a head injury you can do things like ask them to count backwards, ask them what the capital of Alabama is, ask them what their mother’s name is, where they are,” Vaughters said. ”If you can answer those questions then you are ok. If you can’t, you are out of the race.”
Van Summeren managed to start Saturday’s stage, although he was heavily bandaged after suffering multiple lacerations to his back, legs and arms. Danielson did not finish Friday’s stage.
In addition to Hesjedal’s departure, South African sprinter Robbie Hunter also did not start Saturday’s stage.
“We are down to six,” Vaughters said. “We have just got to soldier on.” With the departure of Giro d’Italia winner Hesjedal, Garmin will now have to re-boot its Tour goals, abandoning any hope of the GC and just hunt for stages.
”Ryder was in the form of his life,” Vaughters said. “He had a massive hematoma on his left hip joint; you have got to be able to move your leg to race a bike.”