Deceuninck-QuickStep endured a miserable day out at Nokere Koerse as team leader Mark Cavendish crashed in the finale of the race, before teammate Jannik Steimle suffered what looked to be a far more serious fall moments later.
According to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, Steimle has been taken to hospital after his crash, which came 4.6 kilometres from the end of the 1.Pro semi-Classic.
He had been treated by race doctors at the scene, with cameras quickly cutting away from the scene as he appeared in distress.
The team confirmed late Wednesday that Steimle had suffered a separated shoulder that will require surgery, a fractured rib, a minor pneumothorax and a concussion. A CT scan showed no cerebral lesions.
Images showed Steimle getting a new helmet from the team car before the crash, with the team confirming that he had a minor fall early in the race but had not taken any impact to his head.
According to the team, Steimle swapped his helmet for a new one after the strap had come away from the clasp and, because he was wearing gloves due to the cold weather, he could not fix it himself.
Cavendish's accident, meanwhile, was less serious, with the Manxman quickly getting back to his feet and waiting for a bike change before heading off once again. He hit the deck on the Huisepontweg cobbled sector six kilometres from the end of the race after what looked to be a touch of wheels at the front of the lead peloton.
Having been active earlier in the race, getting on the right side of one of many splits in the peloton on the cobbles, Cavendish had looked in with a chance of a result on the Nokereberg, but the crash saw those chances evaporate. He later rolled across the finish alongside teammate Stijn Steels in 84th place, 5:50 down on breakaway winner Ludovic Robeet (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles).
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