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UPDATED with confirmation of injuries.
Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) suffered a horror crash at Il Lombardia, falling from a bridge while descending with roughly 40 km to go and breaking his pelvis.
“The X-rays showed a fractured pelvis and a right lung contusion, which will keep Evenepoel – a winner of four stage races this season – on the sidelines for the upcoming period,” the team said in a statement. “Our rider will remain in the hospital overnight under observation, before flying on Sunday to Belgium.”
Evenepoel had made it into a select lead group on the punishingly steep Muro di Sormano climb and was descending near the front of the race when he overshot a left-hand bend, collided with a bridge railing, and tumbled over the edge. The first sign of something amiss was TV footage of Evenepoel’s riderless bike, leaning against the bridge railing. The host broadcaster soon showed a replay of Evenepoel’s dramatic fall.
“We didn’t see the fall ourselves, we only heard about it on the race radio,” director sportif Davide Bramati told Sporza. When we saw that Remco’s data had stopped, we already thought it was him. When we got there, all I saw was his bike. A bike without a rider, that’s not a pleasant sight.
“I walked straight down and quickly saw that he was okay. He could talk and said he had pain in his right side. He’s in the hospital now, with the doctor, Patrick Lefevere and his family. I think he’ll be all right. But may the bad luck stop for us now.”
The 20-year-old was perfectly poised in the lead-up to the crash, after his teammate Dries Devenyns helped thin the peloton dramatically on the lead-up to and on the Madonna del Ghisallo climb. A short time before the incident, Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) had attacked from the lead group on the descent.
Evenepoel came into Il Lombardia as one of the favourites, despite being on debut at the race. His nine victories so far this season — the most of any rider — include overall wins at the Vuelta a San Juan, the Volta ao Algarve, the Vuelta a Burgos and the Tour of Poland.
Evenepoel’s crash wasn’t the only worrying moment in the latter stages of Lombardia. Just a few kilometers from the finish line, Max Schachmann broke his collarbone when a driver pulled onto the course and cut him off in a corner, causing him to slam into the car’s side. It’s as of yet unclear how the unauthorized driver and vehicle made it onto the racecourse.
More to come …