Discovery team bike sponsor Trek is having the fork from George Hincapie's bike returned to its US headquarters for a "thorough evaluation."
Hincapie sustained a broken bone in his shoulder when the steerer tube of his bike broke 45km from the finish, causing him to crash. Trek and Discovery say they suspect the crash was caused by damage sustained in an earlier incident. "George was in a crash earlier in the day, but due to race conditions and his comments that everything seemed fine, we did not change to his back up bike," said Discovery's directeur sportif, Johan Bruyneel, in a statement.
Shortly before the second crash, Hincapie told team directors that he felt looseness in his steering and thought his headset may have come loose as a result of the earlier crash. The team was figuring out when and how to swap to his spare bike when Hincapie entered another cobbled section and crashed.
"I believe that the first crash set the stage for the big crash", said Bruyneel. "Section after section the vibrations just kept coming until the damaged steerer gave loose."
"The cobbles do not discriminate," said Julien De Vriese, the team's head mechanic.