Lotto Soudal's Stig Broeckx is in a non-induced coma after being involved in an crash with two motorbikes during stage 3 at the Baloise Belgium Tour on Saturday. Following the massive crash, which was sparked when two motorcycles collided and then drove into some 19 riders, Broeckx was airlifted by helicopter to the neurological centre at Aachen hospital.
It was first reported that Broeckx had sustained a serious head injury. Lotto Soudal later released a statement that expressed the severity of his injuries, which include bleeding in two places in his brain and a fractured eye socket. Team doctor Servaas Bingé confirmed that Broeckx is in a non-induced coma.
"It was immediately clear that Stig had incurred a head injury and that he needed to be transported to a neurosurgical centre. Together with the race doctor and the medical emergency team we decided to transport him to the hospital of Aachen, which has the necessary infrastructure. A scan was taken at the hospital and it showed that Stig has two bleedings in his brain. Stig is in a non-induced coma, but for the moment he doesn't need to undergo surgery. He doesn't have a skull fracture, but he does have a fractured eye socket, which will be further evaluated later. At this point, it is very difficult to give a prognosis about a full recovery. The next 24 hours he will be very closely monitored."
Manager Marc Sergeant also made a statement noting that Broeckx had recently been involved in an incident with a motorcycle at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
"Of course we are very shaken by all that has happened today. Last year our team had very difficult moments after the accident of Kris Boeckmans, exactly three months ago Stig was already hit by a motorbike in Kuurne and a few weeks later the peloton had to cope with the death of Antoine Demoitié. This is very hard for all staff members and riders, but even more for the family and friends of Stig. We can only hope that there is a positive evolution in the condition of Stig and we will support him and his family the best we can, both medically and emotionally."
Following the incident, race organizers neutralized the race but then called it off altogether.
"After the neutralisation, the riders gathered in the team bus and drove to the team hotel were they stayed together to support each other and to talk about what happened. After deliberation we informed the organisation that we won't ride the last stage of the Belgium Tour. At the moment it is pointless to make any accusations, but it should have been obvious much longer that structural measures concerning the safety of the riders are necessary."
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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