Warren Barguil maintains that he can be at 100 per cent for the Ardennes Classics despite fracturing his scaphoid when a motorist crashed head-on into a group of Giant-Alpecin riders during the team’s training camp in Calpe last weekend.
The Frenchman was one of six Giant-Alpecin riders injured in the crash, along with John Degenkolb, Fredrik Ludvigsson, Ramon Sinkeldam, Max Walscheid and Chad Haga. At a press conference at his uncle’s bike shop in Hennebont, in Brittany on Wednesday morning, Barguil talked reporters through the events of last Saturday.
“We were riding back to our hotel. I was taking a turn on the front, and at that moment, a car 300 metres up the road was taking a corner. I thought it was going too fast since it was in the left hand lane,” Barguil said, according to Ouest France. “It wasn’t that it was going too fast, but it was driving regularly and stayed in the left-hand lane.
“The car didn’t stop, it kept going straight on. She [the driver] braked at the point of the first impact. I was riding at 47kph, she was going at 50kph… There was no verge at the roadside, just rocks. I swung as far to the right as I could before the collision.”
On Monday police in Alicante announced they had charged the driver, a 73-year-old British woman, with reckless driving. She was reportedly driving a British, right-hand drive car.
Barguil explained the aftermath of the crash, with a total of six riders sustaining injuries.
“It was quite shocking. We were on the ground for a long time,” he said. “Only one of us managed to avoid the car, and it was he who called the emergency services. He took an arm warmer and used that to make a sling for one of the riders. It wasn’t easy, it was really chaos.”
The worst affected were Chad Haga, who sustained an orbital fracture and remains in hospital in Spain, and John Degenkolb, who briefly risked losing his left index finger, and will miss the Spring Classics campaign as he recovers from his injuries.
Barguil was able to return home to France on Sunday, having spent Saturday evening in hospital, and he said that he was only now beginning to realise how fortunate he and his teammates were to avoid a far graver outcome.
“For the first two or three days, we joked more after the accident, we downplayed it because we had been through that drama. I told myself I had to be positive,” Barguil said. “But since yesterday [Tuesday], I’m starting to realise we could all have died. And when I think that, it sends a shiver down my spine."
Barguil is due to undergo surgery on his scaphoid on Thursday and expects to be off the road for six weeks, though he is hopeful of being able to ride on the home trainer from Friday.
Le Télégramme reported Barguil as being bullish on his prospects of being “at 100 per cent” for the Ardennes Classics, and he stated that the Tour de France and Rio Olympic Games remain very much in his thoughts.