— Lotto Soudal (@Lotto_Soudal) February 19, 2016
No life-threatening injuries have been reported, but as detailed by announcements from Belgian team Lotto-Soudal, riders Thomas De Gendt and Gert Dockx are currently in hospital after being struck by a vehicle. The incident happened while the team is training in Spain, near Calpe.
As Canadian Cycling Magazine previously reported, the crash happened in the same region where Giant-Alpecin riders were similarly hit while training in January.
At press time, it’s uncertain exactly what events or circumstances preceded the collision. What’s known is that De Gendt and Dockx are currently recovering in hospital, their initial medical examinations complete. More tests, however, will be required before the full severity of their injuries can be disclosed, and before it can be ascertained whether or not Dockx’s participation in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will be affected.
Meanwhile, Dockx and De Gendt offered their own accounts of what happened.
“We were riding next to each other,” Dockx said, “Thomas on the left and I on the right. The car came from the right and appeared to be stopping. In a fraction of a second I thought the front of the car was quite far from the main road, but before we realized we got hit by the car. Because the car came from the right, especially, my right leg was hit by the bumper. I can lean on the leg, but walking is difficult.”
“I hope I don’t have any fractures,” he offered, “but further tests will have to determine that.”
De Gendt is similarly cautious about making any kind of self-prognosis, but is thankful his injuries weren’t more grave. “I mainly have a sore neck, back, wrist and fingers,” he said. “I think that thanks to our helmet[s] we don’t have a head injury. I hope I don’t have any severe fractures, but further tests are needed to conclude that.” With the Lotto-Soudal team staying at the same hotel as Vastgoedservice during training, the team’s sports director, Kevin Hulsmans, was responsible for getting De Gendt and Dockx to the hospital. “We are grateful for that,” he said.
Still, the bikes are a write-off, and the situation itself was alarming, he said. “Our bikes are broken, but we were lucky after all,” De Gendt recalled. “It could have been much worse. We were riding on the main road, so that car—coming from a side street—should have stopped.”
Lotto-Soudal’s team doctor, Servaas Binge, weighed in with his appraisal of the situation. “I talked to the doctor at the hospital in Calpe who did the first examinations,” Binge said. “The injuries of Thomas and Gert are not life threatening.” Nonetheless, limited treatment options in Spain mean that the two riders will soon be returning to Belgium, where more detailed, comprehensive tests will be undertaken.
“Afterwards,” he said, “we’ll be able to tell how severe the injuries are and how long the riders have to remain out of competition. They definitely have bruises and abrasions, but I can’t rule out the possibility that they have fractures as well.”
More information will be available after De Gendt and Dockx receive further examinations in Belgium, the team said.