By Shane Stokes in Tanah Ratah
World team pursuit champion Chris Newton was one of the most badly injured riders in the final-kilometre pileup at the end of stage two of the Tour de Langkawi on Saturday. The Recycling.co.uk rider was near the front with 250 metres to go, but when several others fell in front of him he had nowhere to go, hitting the ground hard and suffering deep cuts to his right and left forearms.
Several minutes after Ruben Bongiorno sprinted in for the stage victory, Newton was pushed across the line by one of the team staff. By this stage he had heavy bandaging on but he was clearly in a battered state, appearing pale, in shock and in a lot of pain. He sat in the ambulance for several minutes and was then driven away to hospital.
"He took a pretty bad fall, he's got deep lacerations and maybe has a fractured arm," said team manager John Herety shortly afterwards. "Chris was down to do the Commonwealth Games so this is clearly a threat to that."
Happily Newton's injuries turned out to be less serious than that and he was able to start Sunday's third stage to the Cameron Highlands. "I'm feeling okay today," he told Cyclingnews at the start. "I got some stitches but it turns out there is no fracture."
"Some guys went down ahead of me in the sprint and I ran into the back of them. It was pretty scary, my first thought was that the Commonwealth Games were gone. I am down to do the road and the track events there and thought those were finished with the crash. But it seems now that I will be okay for that."
Newton was world points race champion in 2002 and has got both a world championship gold and Olympic silver in the team pursuit. Having got through Sunday's tough stage to the Cameron Highlands, he will continue his build-up to Melbourne and what he hopes will be a successful campaign there.