Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) has been declared fit to continue in the Tour de France after crashing with such force on stage 3 that his bike snapped in two.
The 24-year-old Dane underwent tests for concussion on Monday evening and again on Tuesday morning, and team doctors were satisfied he was ok to head to the start of stage 4 in Reims.
Asgreen, who played a key role in brining back the breakaway and therefore laying the foundations for Julian Alaphilippe’s victory, crashed into a traffic sign while completing the final kilometres of stage 3.
"I just got a bottle out of the car, but I already had two on the bike, so I took it in my mouth and found some spectators to throw the empty one to. So when I looked down to place the new bottle in the holder, I rode head-on into a sign on a traffic island," Asgreen told Danish broadcaster TV 2 Sport. "It was a huge schoolboy error."
The collision saw Asgreen’s Specialized bike snap in two, with clean breaks on the down tube and top tube, along with a broken front wheel, as seen above in the photographs taken by Cyclingnews.
"It was really a very ugly crash," said Asgreen’s teammate and compatriot Michael Morkov. "We were supposed to just roll quietly to the finish, but then he rides into a traffic island that he didn’t see."
Asgreen got a new bike and completed what was left of the stage, before leaving for hospital in an ambulance. The biggest concern was around his head and neck, with visible cuts to the forehead and a cracked tooth.
After scans ruled out serious injury, he still had to pass concussion protocol, which includes tests for coordination and reactions. After positive signs on Monday evening, he was tested again on Tuesday morning before being given the all-clear to join his teammates on the bus.
"Of course, I’m bruised, but I’ve been lucky. The biggest problem now is some very tight and tender muscles in the neck. But I have passed all the tests for concussion without problems, so I’m starting today," Asgreen told TV 2 Sport.
Asgreen is riding his first Tour de France in what has been a remarkable first full season at WorldTour level with Deceuninck-QuickStep. He finished second at his first Tour of Flanders before winning a stage and finishing third overall at the Tour of California and winning the Danish time trial title. He was selected for his first Tour de France, while five-time Monument winner Philippe Gilbert missed out, and team boss Patrick Lefefevere described him on Monday as “the engine of our team”.