Reigning cyclocross world champion Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) crashed during the finish of the Eneco Tour’s Stage 4 on Thursday. Stybar was forced to withdraw from the race with injuries.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step reports that Stybar did not lose consciousness at any point and immediately underwent examinations at a nearby hospital.
Results of the examination showed deep wounds to the Czech’s upper and lower lips, as well as broken teeth. Scans were also taken, and they showed no fractures or cerebral lesions.
Stybar spent Thursday night in the hospital under observation.
His team provided this update on Friday: “The condition of Zdenek Stybar is improving. Stybar underwent reconstructive surgery on wounds in the area of his mouth last night. The surgery went well, and was performed by Professor Gerd Fabré. Surgery included both internal and external stitches. Medical staff also replaced three teeth that Stybar lost in the impact with the ground. Due to difficulty eating and drinking as a consequence of both the crash and the operation, the Czech champion will remain in the hospital today under observation of hospital staff. OPQS thanks Professor Fabré and his staff for their professionalism and care of Stybar.”
“I’ve never seen my team so down,” Omega Pharma-Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere told Sporza. “Almost all the riders were crying with misery. We must now continue, but the health of Zdenek prevails. I do not really care what is happening in the Eneco Tour. Zdenek had many plans and looked forward to the coming days. Before yesterday he had already demonstrated how to win.”
The crash occurred in a final chicane before the sprint finish. A rider from Giant-Shimano touched bars with another rider and initiated the crash, which was exacerbated by exposed fencing struts that angled into the roadway.
Current Eneco Tour leader Lars Boom (Belkin) said, “I haven’t seen a lot except for some flashes on television. It’s never pleasant to see someone crash so hard. Here in Ardooie, it’s always a big fight. Of course, the riders create dangerous situations themselves, but honestly, I have to say I don’t really like the final here.”
Prior to Thursday’s stage, Stybar won stage 2 of the Eneco Tour and held the GC lead for one day.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step will continue to report on Stybar’s progress.