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Gaimon crashes out of San Dimas race lead

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2013 Merco champion Phil Gaimon (Bissell)

2013 Merco champion Phil Gaimon (Bissell) (Image credit: Catherine Fegan-Kim)
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Phil Gaimon takes today's Stage 1 win

Phil Gaimon takes today's Stage 1 win (Image credit: Brian Hodes)

Bissell Pro Cycling's Phil Gaimon was transported Saturday by helicopter ambulance to a Los Angeles hospital after crashing dramatically in the second road stage of the San Dimas Stage Race.

Bissell director Omer Kem told Cyclingnews Saturday evening that Gaimon, who was reportedly in relatively good spirits at the hospital, suffered a concussion and needed more than 20 stitches to close lacerations on his face and forehead but did not suffer any broken bones.

Gaimon was in the leader's jersey after winning Friday's opening time trial, but tangled with some barriers near the start/finish about halfway through the 12-lap, 84 mile San Dimas Hospital Road Race and went down hard, Kem said. Gaimon was unconscious for several minutes but had regained consciousness by the time emergency medical personnel arrived.

Kem said Gaimon was undergoing a CAT scan but would likely return with him to the team hotel and would not need to spend the night at the hospital.

"He's doing pretty well considering how bad the first reports were that he was found unconscious laying in a pool of blood, and he had to be lifeflighted to Los Angeles," Kem said. "He seems more cognitive than a lot of other guys I've seen in this situation. We'll need to keep a close watch on the concussion, but the rest is basically scrapes and road rash."

Kem said Gaimon will likely be unable to defend his overall title at the upcoming Redlands Bicycle Classic, a race he won last year while riding for Kenda/5-hour Energy. Gaimon will also likely miss Sea Otter as well, but Kem said there is a good chance he could return in time for the Tour of the Gila and Amgen Tour of California in May.

"It sucks to lose Phil because he's riding so well right now," Kem said, adding that the team would not put any pressure on the rider to return. "He just needs to take care of himself and work with the team doctor. I know he'll be disappointed to miss Redlands, but maybe this means he'll be good at a different time this season."

Kem said it's often the case that a highly motivated rider can return from injury as strong or stronger than when he went down. That would be bad news for Gaimon's competition. So far this year Gaimon has won the the Juniper Classic Road Race, a stage and the overall at the Merco Cycling Classic and the opening uphill time trial at San Dimas.

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Pat Malach

Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.