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Tour of the Basque Country: Cycling race halted after crash

April 4, 2024

Jonas Vingegaard, the two-time Tour de France winner, was rushed to hospital with multiple broken bones after a large crash during the fourth stage of the Tour of the Basque Country.

The peloton of the Tour of the Basque Country waiting behind official motorbikes
The accident occurred in the mountainous Basque Country of northern SpainImage: Roth/SCA/picture alliance

A champion cyclist suffered serious injuries and several others were hospitalized after a pileup at the Tour of the Basque Country bike race on Thursday.

Around a dozen riders slid off a corner in the final stages of the run from Etxarri Aranatz to Legutio and fell into a concrete ditch.

Danish two-time Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard was carried away on a stretcher with an oxygen mask and a neck brace. Vingegaard had won last year's edition of the race.

His team later said he had suffered a broken collarbone and broken ribs.

"Over the radio we heard that Jonas was involved in a big crash," said Addy Engels, the sports director for his team Visma-Lease a Bike.

"We immediately saw that it didn't look good when we arrived to him. Fortunately, he was conscious. Jonas is now being examined at the hospital. We are waiting for any updates now." 

Australian rider Jay Vine and Belgian cyclists Remco Evenepoel and Steff Cras were also taken to hospital.

Slovenian Olympic gold medalist Primoz Roglic also withdrew from the race, but offered a thumbs-up to television cameras to indicate that he was not seriously harmed.

Organizers neutralize fourth stage of the Itzulia

The fourth stage of the famous race, which is known locally as the Itzulia, was paused because all available doctors responded to the crash and there were no remaining ambulances to follow the peloton.

Race organizers said the rest of the competitors would ride together to the end of the stage.

The six cyclists who were ahead of the crash were allowed to compete in a final sprint to the finish line for a partial victory "but the stage times will not be counted for the general classification," the organizers added.

South African Louis Meintjes of Intermarche-Wanty ultimately won the stage.

"It's not the way you want to win," Meintjes said.

"I felt good and if there was a chance for the breakaway I would have been ready to fight for the stage, but it takes a bit of the pleasure out of it. It's maybe a victory but it doesn't really feel like it. You want it to be fair for everyone."

zc/dj (AFP, EFE, dpa, AP, Reuters)