Silence Lotto rider Olivier Kaisen was involved in the crash in the final stage to Madrid at the Vuelta a España. Kaisen was initially feared of having a broken collarbone.
Kaisen recounted his memories of the crash to Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure. "We were going 60km/h two kilometres from the finish when a rider crashed in front of me. There was nothing I could do to avoid the rider and crashed. I hit the barrier with my head."
Kaisen was stunned but able to ride to the finish, where he had to lie down near the podium. "I was on the ground for several minutes." Kaisen was happy he could make it to the finish line in Madrid. "It would have been a real bummer to not make it all the way in the Vuelta with only two kilometres remaining. That's why I tried to cross the line before being taken to hospital..."
The examinations didn't reveal any severe injuries and Kaisen was able to return to Belgium on Monday. He is still hoping to tackle the Franco-Belge race from October 2 to 5. He finished third in 2006, where he also finished the Vuelta. "The Vuelta was better for me than two years ago. I suffered less and I wasn't in the gruppetto as often."
The difference was that he had less chances of getting into breaks this year. "We often had to ride to defend Van Avermaet's points jersey." The work made him proud and taking a jersey was a great experience for Kaisen.
Speaking of jerseys, Kaisen still doesn't know which one he will wear in 2009. "I have had good contact with [directeur sportif] Marc Sergeant during the Vuelta. He told me that if the team can have more than 25 riders, I can stay."