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February 20, 2016
Photography by Kristof Ramon
Weeks after six Giant-Alpecin riders were struck by a car near Calpe, Spain, two riders from the Lotto Soudal team have had also been knocked down in the same area.
Belgians Thomas De Gendt and Gert Dockx were involved in a collision with a vehicle on Friday, forcing them to go to hospital for treatement.
“We were riding next to each other, Thomas on the left and I on the right,” Dockx explained. “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 on the main road, but before we realized we got hit by the car.”
He said that his right leg was most affected, being hit by the bumper. He is waiting to ascertain the full nature of the injury.
“I can lean on the leg, but walking is difficult. I hope I don’t have any fractures, but further tests will have to determine that.”
De Gendt said that he had a sore neck, back, wrist and fingers as a result of the crash. He credited their helmets with saving them from head injuries.
He too is waiting to learn more. “I hope I don’t have any severe fractures, but further tests are needed to conclude that. Our bikes are broken, but we were lucky after all, it could have been much worse.”
When the Giant-Alpecin riders were struck last month the car was driving on the wrong side of the road. According to De Gendt, the vehicle was also to blame in this latest case.
“We were riding on the main road, so that the car – coming from a side street – should have stopped,” he said.
The duo were helped by Kevin Hulsmans, directeur sportif of the Vastgoedservice team. The squad is staying in the same hotel as the duo and Hulsmans transported them to hospital.
The Lotto Soudal team doctor Servaas Bingé was not present but spoke to the doctor at the hospital in Calpe. The latter examined the riders and so made the initial assessment.
“The injuries of Thomas and Gert are not life threatening,” said Bingé. “Because of the limited options for further tests at the hospital over there the question was if both riders are well enough to be transferred to Belgium.”
That is the case, and so the duo will return to Belgium and undergo further assessment there.
“Afterwards we’ll be able to tell how severe the injuries are and how long the riders have to remain out of competition,” he explained. “They definitely have bruises and abrasions, but I can’t rule out the possibility that they have fractures as well.”