A heavy crash in Monday’s third stage at the Tour de Suisse has thrown a wrench in Tour de France preparations for Garmin-Sharp’s Ryder Hesjedal.
Medical officials attended Hesjedal at the crash site, placing him in a neck brace, strapping him into a stretcher, and wrapping his body in an emergency thermal sack before transporting him to a local hospital via ambulance.
Garmin management suggested it’s too early to say how a high-speed fall will affect Hesjedal, but a crash and a trip to the hospital was the last thing the 2012 Giro d’Italia champion needed just as he was showing signs of being on track for the Tour.
Team officials confirmed that the 32-year-old Canadian suffered a “heavy blow to the neck and head” at about 150km into the 203km third stage from Montreux to Meringen. He was immediately transported to a local Swiss hospital.
Doctors said Hesjedal suffered “multiple, severe contusions and abrasions to his right wrist, hip and knee and left shoulder, elbow and knee,” according to a team release.
“Hesjedal’s health is the team’s priority,” a statement read. “Depending on how his recovery progresses team medical staff as of now hopes he may be able to train in a few days time, although this will depend on his recovery.”
Despite some reports hitting social media earlier Monday, the team said, “preliminary CTs show no fractures and no neurological pathologies.” Officials said Hesjedal will remain under close observation by team medical staff in the coming hours and days.
Hesjedal’s fall comes just as it appeared he was regaining his kick just in time for the Tour, now less than three weeks away.
He was riding strong in the opening two stages of nine-day Swiss tour following his early departure from the Giro d’Italia last month with illness.
He rode to ninth in the opening-day time trial and was fourth in Monday’s summit finale at Crans Montana to pull within three seconds of overnight leader Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge).
With Hesjedal out of the picture, Mathias Frank (BMC Racing) finished with a lead, four-man group with stage-winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale) to assume the leader’s jersey under rainy conditions Monday.
The Canadian was planning to use the Swiss tour to hone his form before a likely start at the Tour de France on Corsica on June 29.
Officials will be able to say more in the coming days when Hesjedal will be able to resume training. With the Tour start less than three weeks away, finishing the Tour de Suisse was critical for Hesjedal’s preparation ahead of the season’s most important stage race.
Garmin officials stated earlier that the Tour de France team remains undecided. Several riders are bucking for leadership roles at the Tour, including Hesjedal, Andrew Talansky, and Daniel Martin.
Check back to VeloNews as more information becomes available.
Full team statement: Ryder Hesjedal crashed during today’s stage at the Tour de Suisse, suffering a heavy blow to the neck and head. He was immediately transported to a local hospital for evaluation. Hesjedal suffered multiple, severe contusions and abrasions to the right wrist, hip and knee and left shoulder, elbow and knee. Preliminary CTs show no fractures and no neurological pathologies. He will remain under close observation by team medical staff. Hesjedal’s health is the team’s priority – depending on how his recovery progresses team medical staff as of now hopes he may be able to train in a few days time, although this will depend on his recovery.