The surgeon for the French Tour de France bicycle race compared the aftermath of Saturday’s chain reaction accident involving 50 cyclists to being “in a war zone.”
“It looks like a war scene, the same chaos, the same moans, bodies everywhere and tangled machines,'” event orthopedic surgeon, and military medical officer Gilbert Versier told French daily newspaper L’Equipe. “You can't imagine so much breakage. In the midst of the commotion, the runners getting up and wanting to start again, the most serious cases must be identified. In general, these are the ones who are furthest from the accident site, because they have been thrown.”
Versier said that the scene contained the same “chaos,” and “moans” that he saw while serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The crash, one of the worst in the event’s history, took place near the summit of the Saint-Rivoal hill in the town of Saint-Cadou, when a female spectator held out a cardboard sign into the path of German racer Tony Martin, who hit the sign and went down, causing a chain reaction crash of 50 other riders, resulting in at least 21 injured, the Daily Mail reported.
Despite the crash, many of the riders, some with serious injuries, mounted their bikes and finished stage two of the marathon race, which Versier said was likely due to a rush of adrenaline.
'The adrenaline rush is so bad that it makes them forget the pain,” he said. “Even seriously affected riders, such as Spaniard Marc Soler, both elbows fractured, Briton Chris Froome, with hip and chest injuries, or Swiss Marc Hirshi, his right shoulder completely disjointed, manage to finish.”
From his hospital bed Sunday night, Froome seemed to brush off the accident as part of the game.
“In a split second there were 50 or 60 of us all on the ground,” Froome said. “I guess that's bike racing.”
The fan who caused the pileup, believed to be a German woman, fled the country after the incident and is now being sought for both a criminal investigation and a lawsuit the organization seeks to file, holding her to account, CBS News reported.
The Tour, which began in 1903 as an effort to boost circulation of a struggling daily sports newspaper, is celebrating its 108th year and runs from June 26 to July 18 as one of the premier bicycling races in the world, according to History.com.
This year’s route covers 3,414.4 km during 21 daily stages.
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