Gorka Izagirre’s tenure with the Astana team almost got off to the worst possible start when the Spanish road race champion came a cropper at high speed during a cyclo-cross race, taking his younger brother Ion with him. Fortunately for them and their new team, both the brothers did not suffer significant injury, though Gorka needed four stitches in his eyebrow as a result of the crash.
The Izagirre brothers were riding in Astana blue for the first time since switching to the team from Bahrain-Merida over the winter. They were tuning up for the forthcoming road season at a cyclo-cross event in the Basque town of Ormaiztegi.
Gorka Izagirre was sitting in second place at the time of the crash with his brother following close behind in third. Video footage shows that the accident happened as Izagirre transitioned from a high-speed, muddy downhill section onto a bridge.
As he began the bridge section, Izagirre lost control of his bike and veered dramatically to the left. He avoided going over the wall at the side but hit it at full speed and knocked his head on the top. The section was narrow and there was little that his brother could do to avoid him. The younger of the two slid out, mitigating the force of the impact when they inevitably came together.
Ion did not suffer any serious injury but decided to abandon the race while Gorka was taken to hospital in an ambulance for further examinations. Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga went on to win the race, the final event before the Spanish national championships later this week.
The crash is not expected to impact the Izagirre brothers' start to the road season with both set to make their debuts at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in February.