(Updated) German considers himself lucky
Jens Voigt of Team Saxo Bank is doing "OK under the circumstances" after his Tour de France-ending crash on the final descent of stage 16, his team announced late Tuesday. The German appeared to lose his grip on the handlebars after hitting a bump in the road on the descent from the col du Petit Saint Bernard and he fell to the ground while going an estimated 80kph.
Voigt was taken to the University hospital in Grenoble and diagnosed with a fracture of the right cheekbone and a concussion. He will remain in the hospital for observation.
The father of five sent a message to his teammates from his hospital bed: "I think I was very lucky not getting severely hurt from today's crash. Now I hope that you can focus on the race and I wish you all good luck with the hard stage tomorrow”.
The crash, which occured near the beginning of the final descent of Tuesday's stage, could have had much more severe consequences. Voigt landed hard on his shoulder and head and slid several metres along the road. The race doctor who attended to him at the scene said that Voigt briefly lost consciousness.
"He is seriously injured, but conscious. He was able to move," said a visibly shaken team manager Bjarne Riis to the German press agency dpa after the stage.
A motorcycle carrying a photographer narrowly avoided hitting the fallen 37-year-old. "I saw him laying there with closed eyes and blood on his face," the driver said, adding that he had suspected the worst.
Voigt's fellow German Linus Gerdemann of Team Milram said "When you see a crash like that, nothing else much matters. It gives you goose bumps."
Voigt was part of the race-long break which went clear in the opening kilometres in advance of the Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard. Voigt was dropped on the day's second climb, the Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard, but fought his way back up to the yellow jersey group containing his teammates Andy and Frank Schleck before crashing on the descent.