In the crash Willems also suffered a fractured shoulder blade, rib fractures and a concussion. He was taken to the hospital in Eeklo where he will undergo surgery for his injuries in the next few days, when his condition has stabilised.
According to Het Nieuwsblad, the 33-year-old was found unconscious by the side of the road by a group of hobby cyclists. “Frederik remembers little of what happened,” his wife Elke said.
His manager Jef Van den Bosch said, “Frederik thinks he was doing a series of sprints. In one of those sprints he probably went over head first. It must have been a hard blow judging by the nature of the injuries. It was thought at first that it was a hit and run, but there now seems to be no question of that.” “Whether he will race again this season is questionable.”
Willems, whose contract expires the end of this season, had been scheduled to ride the Eneco Tour, which starts next week.
It is the second major crash of 2014 for Willems after he suffered a double fracture to his collarbone during the first stage of the Three Days of De Panne in April.
The Belgian, who joined Lotto after several seasons with Liquigas, was the overall winner of the 2009 edition of Three Days of De Panne.