A race already marked by dangerous crashes has seen another rider exit the Vuelta a España on Friday: Rein Taaramae (Katusha) was hit from behind by a Team Cofidis car and was forced to abandon.
“I can’t be sure exactly what happened. I was suffering today. I was dropped in the group and was riding alone. In one moment I found myself on the side of the road and I understood that a car hit me from the back,” the Estonian said afterwards.
“I think I’m lucky that nothing is broken. My bike was broken in probably six pieces. When I saw that, I realized I was really lucky. Later that director spoke to me and said it was his fault but was unsure what had happened too. He was very sorry.”
Taaramae is a former stage winner in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España and moved to Katusha this year. He was, coincidentally, a Cofidis rider for seven years.
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His directeur sportif José Azevedo saw the crash and gave further detail about how it happened.
“Rein was dropped on the hill and the cars were passing him…he was in the middle of the cars,” he said.
“I think he didn’t see the Cofidis car. Sometimes this happens where you look to one side and can’t see anything, but I think the car came and he could not avoid it so he was hit from behind. He flew off the bike to the right side of the road and this was a lucky thing because he was safe, but the car hit his bike and destroyed it completely. It was in a lot of pieces.”
He made clear that the collision was a complete accident rather than reckless driving.
“Of course it was not on purpose. It was just something that happens in a race. He only has small injuries, but it was impossible for him to continue. I think he was initially in shock and these last days he’s been having some stomach problems. He was suffering to finish today and then this crash, so it needed to be over for him.”
Fortunately his injuries are not serious and Taaramae’s bike took the brunt of the force. The 29 year old will be available for further team selection this season and will look to add to strong results this year.
His Giro stage win came this season and he also took a stage plus the overall in the Tour of Slovenia.