Frederick Frison suffered "several severe injuries" in the mass crash on the first stage of the 4 Jours du Dunkerque, Team Lotto Soudal reported. At least one other rider was seriously injured and several team directors criticised how the situation was handled.
Frison was initially diagnosed with a fractured pelvis, but further examinations showed multiple pelvic fractures, which "will take time and a lot of rest" to heal. In addition, the team said "his chest took a big part of the fall. On the left, Frederik has three broken ribs and two fractures to the transverse process on his vertebrae. Further examination also showed he has a small pneumothorax. Frederik doesn't need to undergo surgery."
Stijn Vandenbergh of AG2R also suffered a severe concussion in the crash.
Various team leaders were furious as to how the race handled the crash. "Why did not the course be neutralized immediately? There were some riders heavily injured on the asphalt Have you not learned any lessons after last year with Antoine and Stig?" Hilaire Van Der Schueren of Wanty-Groupe Gobert told the Belga news agency.
In 2016, Antoine Demoitié (Wanty-Gobert) died after being run over by a motorbike in Gent-Wevelgem. Stig Broeckx (Lotto Soudal) suffered severe brain damage in a mass crash during the Tour of Belgium. The stage was cancelled after the crash.
Van Der Schueren asked rhetorically if he was "the only team leader to contact the UCI after the stage to give all riders the same time." He asked, "where is the feeling of togetherness? The solidarity?"
"I would like to chat with the president of the UCI," said Hans De Clercq, DS at Sport Flanders-Baloise. "I do not have any interest in it because my team will definitely not participate in the final victory. Those boys are here to learn, but simply, it's all about security and solidarity, but little or nothing happens."
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