Sunday, July 15, 2007

A T-Mobile rider and spectator down

There are reports out now that rider Patrik Sinkewitz of T-Mobile went down after the stage while riding to his hotel from hitting a 78-year-old spectator who is now in a coma. Sinkewitz incurred facial injuries.

I fervently hope the rider's injuries are not another idiotic situation like Paolo Salvoldelli's last year that might have been prevented quite simply by keeping a helmet on after the stage was over. And that Sinkewitz and the spectator both recover quickly (along with the other riders injured today).

This is a severe blow to a team that just lost Cavendish and Rogers in today's stage, although Cavendish's departure was pre-planned.

Update: There is a short article on this now at the T-Mobile team website which says Sinkewitz "will definitely not be able to continue at the Tour de France" due to "a facial fracture (broken nose), head trauma, and a shoulder injury". It does sound like some of those rider injuries may have been prevented or reduced with a helmet, but there is no mention of whether he was wearing one or not at the time. On TV I see many of the riders removing their helmets immediately after the finish line of each stage, but as described here, they often ride their bikes through the extremely crowded streets a fair distance back to their team bus or lodgings. His withdrawal was confirmed by Reuters, which brings the peleton down to no more than 171 riders on Tuesday (from 189 Prologue finishers) and 6 of 9 riders remaining on T-Mobile.

Update: It seems that I was wrong about Sinkewitz not wearing a helmet. There is an AP photo of the crash posted at Spare Cycles where a magenta helmet can be seen. My apologies for making an incorrect assumption and my best wishes to everyone concerned.

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