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Sharp thru axle lever skewers racer’s leg

The aero lever handle penetrated Colin Reuter's leg in a crash sending him to the hospital with the wheel still embedded in his flesh

Road racing frequently leads to some weird crashes but a rider in New England may be recovering from one of the strangest after a freak accident involving a sharp thru axle lever on an aero bike. Colin Reuter is the president of The New England Bicycle Racing Association and was caught up in a mid-race crash at the Lime Rock Cycling Grand Prix on Sunday.

The awkward crash took down many in the field but Reuter wasn’t able to get up. In the weird pile up, the skewer of a Cannondale SystemSix punctured his skin near the knee.

“So I know we were all worried about disc brakes being unsafe, but can we talk about sharp thru axle levers?” Reuter wrote in a Tweet with a photo of the gruesome injury.

After the crash, other racers helped disassemble the bike so that Reuter could be transported to the local hospital. “I’m super grateful and impressed with the number of guys who got up from the crash and spent the next 20 minutes stabilizing me, disassembling the bike, helping get me onto a backboard and off to the hospital for extraction.”

While the introduction of new tech like disc brake rotors to road racing has been widely criticized by some racers for being dangerous, pointed thru axle levers and even the aero levers on quick release wheels have been spared the same amount of scrutiny. As the injury suffered by Reuter shows, perhaps manufacturers do need to consider their designs more closely.

It wasn’t the only gruesome injury to happen on Sunday. In the Roubaix Espoir race in France, Matteo Jorgenson was severely cut by a disc rotor. “You can be third wheel and still get crashed. Waiting for surgery due to someone disc rotor. Didn’t believe they could do this until it happened to me,” wrote the victim of the horrible injury.

As companies have introduced new technology to the cycling scene, the dangers of sharp components are highlighted by injuries such as the ones suffered by Jorgenson and Reuter.