Bardet and Kwiatkowski escape serious injury in separate crashes

Frenchman falls at Tour du Doubs, Polish champion down at Vuelta

AG2R La Mondiale's Romain Bardet and Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski both came away from separate crashes at the Tour du Doubs and the Vuelta a España, respectively, on Sunday without serious injury.

Both riders fancy their chances on the hilly world championship road-race course in Innsbruck, Austria, on September 30, but ideally need to stay upright and injury-free if they're to challenge for the iconic rainbow jersey in three weeks' time.

Bardet's crash happened at the French one-day race, the Tour du Doubs, where he had attacked from a breakaway group on the descent of the Côte de Larmont with just over three kilometres to the finish in Pontarlier, in eastern France, close to the Swiss border.

While the 27-year-old remounted to finish the race, won by Cofidis' Julien Simon, Bardet's AG2R team reported that he was left with "superficial wounds and contusions on his chest caused by the relay housing for the radio located on his back".

Such injuries yet again question the wisdom of riders racing with solid radio units, with even their wiring seemingly a danger, as seems to have been the case with Bardet.

The race was part of the Frenchman's build-up to the Worlds road race at the end of September, but it's hoped that the crash won't have overly affected his chances.

"In the final, with the adrenaline of a possible victory, every little mistake of trajectory can have big consequences, and be very painful," Bardet said. "I'll need a little rest to take stock."

Kwiatkowski, meanwhile, came down on stage 15 of the Vuelta after crashing into the back of AG2R's Alexandre Geniez with just over 30km of the stage to Lagos de Covadonga left to go.

Initial fears were that he may have broken his ribs, as the Polish road race champion gripped his side in agony in the initial aftermath.

But the Team Sky rider was able to finish the stage in 73rd place, 23 minutes behind stage winner Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), and later tweeted that he was "fine".

"Unfortunately there was no chance to react when Alex Geniez fell just in front of me. I'm fine and hope that he is as well. Fingers crossed for the bad luck to be over this season," Kwiatkowski wrote, referring to another crash at the Vuelta a week ago, on the descent of the Alto de Ceal, nearing the finish of stage 7, which had left him with a bandaged, but not seriously injured, arm.

With a rest day on Monday to recover and regroup after his two crashes, Kwiatkowski will look to the finish of the Vuelta in Madrid next Sunday, when there will be just two weeks to go until the Worlds road race.

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