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21 riders injured in Tour de France opening stage crashes

Riders on the ground after a huge crash on stage 1 of the Tour de France
Riders on the ground after a huge crash on stage 1 of the Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Two major crashes on the 198km opening stage of the 2021 Tour de France from Brest to Landerneau have injured at least 21 riders, with Ignatas Konovalovas (Groupama-FDJ) suffering a head trauma, and Cyril Lemoine (B&B Hotels-KTM) with four broken ribs, a moderate pneumothorax and a head wound as the most injured and out of the race.

Marc Soler (Movistar) finished the stage just in front of the broomwagon and his team confirmed later that he fractured both elbows - the end of the radius on both arms and the ulna of his left arm and is out of the race.

Soler is the fourth abandon after Jasha Sütterlin (Team DSM) left the race with an injured hand. Sütterlin's teammates Søren Kragh Andersen and Casper Pedersen were among those listed as being treated on the scene along with Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Dries Devenyns (Deceuninck-Quickstep), Xandro Meurisse and Kristian Sbaragli (Alpecin-Fenix), Jan Bakelants (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) and Aurelien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën), all victims of the first crash.

Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) was involved in the second of the two mass-crashes which started as a touch of wheels in the fast-moving peloton inside the final 10km. He went for additional scans along with teammate Reto Hollenstein, having difficulty breathing. He was listed with injuries to his hip and thorax in the stage 1 medical report.

Casper Pedersen, Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroën), Marc Soler (Movistar), Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Amund Grøndahl Jansen (BikeExchange), Clement Russo and Dan McLay (Arkea-Samisc), and Hollenstein all underwent radiological scans at the finish.

Teunissen, winner of stage 1 of the 2019 Tour de France, was cleared of any fractures after going down in the first crash, which was caused by a spectator who was focussed more on getting on television than on watching the race and held a sign in the road in front of the Jumbo-Visma-led peloton.

Tony Martin, who ran into the sign and was the first to crash suffered road rash but will be able to continue. “We had everything under control until the crash," Martin said. "I brought the guys to the front via the right side of the road, but crashed into the sign of the spectator. It all happened very quickly; suddenly almost the entire team was on the ground. Many spectators behave respectfully, but unfortunately not this one. Fortunately, Primoz came through it well. I hope the physical damage to myself and the other guys is manageable.”

The 21 riders listed are only some of those who were involved in the falls, with dozens more riding off without being officially documented as having medical treatment from the race doctors. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) won the stage with blood dripping down his right knee.

Alpecin-Fenix confirmed that Sbaragli needed stitches to his lower lip and suffered a chest contusion, while teammate Tim Merlier fell on both knees and suffered a contusion to his right thigh, a sprained right ankle and abrasions on his back and elbow. Both are expected to start stage 2.

UAE Team Emirates said Mikkel Bjerg had multiple contusions, abrasions and small lacerations on his right knee and back of his legs, Brandon McNulty hurt his right wrist and elbow and Rui Costa had road rash in addition to Hirschi's separated shoulder.

Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) said he was involved in the crash but escaped injury.

"The Tour de France is the most nervous and stressful Grand Tour and this unfortunately has always brought many crashes," Nibali said. "We have a lot GC riders that want to stay in the front and their teams as well. Unfortunately in recent past a few crashes have happened due to fans being inattentive, as happened today. It definitely wasn't a good day and a good start from this point of view.

"We need to keep a lot of attention and the fans must do the same on the road. We need respect. The peloton can be a fast train running, it can be really dangerous without the proper concentration."

Riders injured in stage 1 of the 2021 Tour de France

  • DNF: Jasha Sütterlin (Team DSM) - hematoma to the hand
  • DNF: Ignatas Konovalovas (Groupama-FDJ) - head trauma
  • DNF: Cyril Lemoine (B&B Hotels-KTM) - broken ribs, punctured lung, cut on scalp
  • DNS stage 2: Marc Soler (Movistar) - fractured radius, left and right, fractured ulna
  • Aurelien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën) - contusion to left knee
  • Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroën) - 10 stitches on left forearm
  • Dorion Godon (AG2R Citroën) - road rash
  • Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën) - road rash, stitches on right arm
  • Nans Peters (AG2R Citroën) - bruised shoulder, road rash
  • Michaël Schär (AG2R Citroën) - neck pain
  • Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Fenix) 
  • Kristian Sbaragli (Alpecin-Fenix) - stitches on lower lip
  • Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) - contusions on knees
  • Dan McLay (Arkea-Samsic) - back pain
  • Clément Russo (Arkea-Samsic) - thoracic trauma
  • Amund Grøndahl Jansen (BikeExchange) - lumbar trauma, stitches on right elbow
  • Jesús Herrada (Cofidis) - contusion to hip
  • Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis) - contusion to right calf
  • Dries Devenyns (Deceuninck-Quickstep)
  • Søren Kragh Andersen (DSM)
  • Casper Pedersen (DSM) - stitches
  • Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) - hip and thoracic trauma
  • Reto Hollenstein (Israel Start-Up Nation) - thoracic trauma
  • Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) - road rash, trauma to elbow, hip
  • Marc Soler (Movistar) - fractures on both arms
  • Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) - separated shoulder

Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news.