By Susan Westemeyer
It almost looked as if Unibet's Rigoberto Uran was purposely steering towards the opening on the side of the road on the descent of the Riedbergpass in Tuesday's Deutschland Tour stage. But there is no way that he would have wanted the consequences. He flew down over a mountain stream and smashed into a retaining wall. Fortunately he put his arms out to protect his face and head, which remained uninjured, but unfortunately did a lot of damage to those arms. He tried to get up, but immediately laid back down again and waited for help, which was quick to arrive.
The 20 year-old Colombian directly underwent surgery Monday evening, Sportwereld reported. He had complicated fractures of both elbows and the right wrist. He will now face a long rehabilitation.
"I was just behind Cunego when I went off the road", said Uran on the team's website, unibetcycling.com "Too bad, because I think I might have had a chance to win the stage in the sprint."
He wasn't the only one to go down on that descent. Gerrit Glomser of Team Volksbank crashed at nearly the same spot, but came away luckier and was at the start today. "Where Rigoberto Uran crashed, I could just barely get by, but on the next curve it was my turn. I crashed full speed into the cliff. Now I can just wait and hope that I make it up the Rettenbachferner within the time limit. That will be hard to do, since I can't really grasp the handlebar," Glomser said.
Fears that he had broken a hand or wrist were fortunately put to rest, and the 32 year-old Austrian came away with "only" a cracked rib and various scrapes and bruises all over his shoulders, abdomen and knee.
"I am happy that he is still alive. At the crash site I thought it was all over," confessed team manager Thomas Kofler. "But Gerrit is a real fighter -- he may look like a mummy, because he's covered from head to toe with bandages, and he is in a lot of pain, but he'll make it through the stage. At least he will try."
Jens Voigt acknowledged in a post race interview how tricky the descent was. "There were quite some sharp turns and it was pretty steep."
But it's not only the descents that are dangerous. The simple bike ride to the winner's ceremony brought down mountain jersey holder Niki Terpstra of Milram. He collided with the TV commentators cabin and hit the pavement, suffering nothing more than a few scrapes.
"There were cables all over the place. His rear wheel slipped away over one of them and he had no chance to react," said soigneur Cristofero Piccinini, who accompanied the rider, on team-milram.de "These crashes, when you are going so slowly can sometimes be the worst."
Just to be on the safe side, the young Dutchman returned to the team bus by a different route, in front of the TV cabin instead of behind it.