Swiss pro Stefan Küng has shared insights into his disastrous European championships time trial, recounting a dramatic crash that left him bruised and bloodied as he finished in 11th place. In an interview with Swiss outlet SRF, Küng explained the circumstances of the crash in September, attributing it to a navigation issue while riding at full speed.
“I believe it was a guiding problem. During a time trial, my visibility is limited, and I can only see a few metres ahead due to the position I have to maintain. I rely on instructions from the team car via radio,” he explained. “Upon review, it happened very quickly. In a time trial, I cover 50 to 60 metres of road in a matter of seconds. So, if I make a mistake in an instant, I find myself on the ground without realizing it.”
When Küng, 29, crossed the finish line, his helmet was shattered and barely clung to his head, while his face was covered in blood. His injuries included a fractured hand, cheekbone, and a minor concussion. Interestingly, he also mentioned losing his wedding ring along the way.
“The wedding ring is gone. In the finish-line photos, I’m still wearing it on my finger. However, when the cast was removed, it was no longer there. I inquired with the various doctors who treated me, but with no success. So I don’t recall if they removed it during the first few hours in the hospital, possibly due to swelling in my fingers,” he shared. “And I don’t remember much from that day.”
UCI concussion protocol ignored
Notably, there was no medical or team car following Küng, which meant no coaches or doctors were immediately available to assess whether he should have remounted. In 2021, the UCI implemented a concussion protocol for riders who experience head injuries. According to the protocol, a medical professional should determine whether a cyclist involved in a crash can safely continue or should retire.
You can watch the brutal crash below.
— Tim Bonville-Ginn (@TimBonvilleGinn) September 20, 2023