Steven Kruijskwijk was removed from the course about 60 kilometres from the finish of stage 15 of the Tour de France after a high speed crash, as the day went from bad to worse for Jumbo-Visma.
With two riders still up the road, Kruijswijk was caught up in a crash that also brought down Martijn Tusveld (DSM), Jakob Fuglsang (Israel-Premier Tech) and Jumbo-Visma teammate Wout van Aert, who’d inexplicably got up the road early on before dropping back to the peloton. It was immediately pretty clear from Kruijswijk’s body language that his right collarbone was a problem, and the chances of the climbing talent getting back on his bike were next to none as he waved off the green jersey.
This latest blow comes just hours after Primož Roglič – a key component in Jonas Vingegaard’s seizure of the yellow jersey on Wednesday – withdrew from the race to allow his own injuries to recover.
The nerves were rampant in the kilometres that followed Kruijswijk’s heavy crash. Moments after cameras showed the Dutchman being loaded into an ambulance to friendly applause from bystanders, Tiesj Benoot and Jonas Vingegaard also hit the deck in the peloton. The dirtied yellow jersey got up pretty quickly and his domestique was back underway soon after, albeit looking rather uncomfortable.
Vingegaard is now down to five teammates, just like Pogačar, with a week left of the Tour.
Vingegaard told media after the stage that he’s relatively unscathed, with just some scrapes to his left side. Caught up in the same incident, Benoot is feeling slightly heavier effects, but suffered no fractures.
“I’ve felt better,” Benoot told media. “But I think I was a bit lucky. I fell quite hard and unexpectedly. I was tapped and could not keep my bike upright, often those are serious falls.
“My nose is a bit thick and I have some scrapes all over, especially on my right side. After the fall I was also a bit nauseous. It’s certainly not ideal, but it really sucks. Jonas was sitting in my wheel, when I sat up I saw him standing next to me. Fortunately, I learned that it was not too bad for him.”
A few days after his abandon, Kruijswijk posted an update to his personal Instagram story confirming that he had in fact broken his collarbone and dislocated his shoulder, the compound injury requiring urgent surgical intervention.
“So, medical update. After the unfortunate crash they immediately operated my broken collarbone and the dislocation of my shoulder,” he wrote. “Further examinations the day after in the Netherlands, concluded that an operation of the broken shoulder blade is not necessary and will heal over time…”