American Chad Haga was one of the riders most seriously injured after a British driver drove head-on into the Giant-Alpecin team while they were training on the roads near Calpe, Spain, but one day later he reassured his friends and supporters by sending a message on Twitter.
From the intensive care unit one day after the crash, Haga wrote, "I've burned through my phone battery reading all your support messages. I'm alive and have much to be thankful for."
Haga was riding in the bunch when the 73-year-old woman, driving a right-hand car from the UK on the left-hand Spanish roads reportedly crossed the centre line and collided head-on with the riders. He was airlifted from the scene of the incident with deep wounds to his chest, neck, chin and face that were surgically repaired. He suffered a broken orbital bone in his face that will require surgery after the swelling goes down.
"No TV in the ICU, so Twitter is my entertainment. Maybe some levity will make me feel better," Haga wrote. "Whoever said 'lead with your face' is an idiot. Definitely don't do that."
Of his helicopter ride from the scene, he quipped, "I was kinda expecting helicopter rides to be more fun than that. They must have a great marketer."
"Weight loss technique for the ill-advised: smash your face on a car, you won't eat for days," he joked.
Finally, every rider is required to update the anti-doping authorities with their whereabouts in order to be located for doping control, but Haga was unsure of what to tell them in this instance, "I guess I should update my whereabouts, but I doubt 'the room with blue walls' will help them much, & I don't know their policy on catheters."
Haga and teammate John Degenkolb were the most seriously injured of the six riders affected by the crash. Degenkolb risks missing out on defending his titles in Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix after having his finger nearly severed in the incident. Warren Barguil broke a bone in his hand, Max Walscheid fractured his hand and tibia, and Fredrik Ludvigsson escaped with multiple contusions. Ramon Sinkeldam thought he'd avoided the worst, but found out Monday that he'd fractured his scapula, but it will not require surgery.
Team manager Iwan Spekenbrink told Cyclingnews that the crash was a major blow to the team's racing goals, but that is secondary to the riders' health. “We know that we will be set back for some months with the team in terms of sport but that’s the second priority," he said. “In the coming days we’ll start working on re-planning things but it will take some time before we’re at our full strength again. We have a strong spirit and we’ll get out of this stronger."
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- Chad Haga in stable condition after Giant-Alpecin accident
- Sinkeldam describes the panic and clamour as Giant-Alpecin riders were hit by car
- Woman charged with reckless driving after Giant-Alpecin crash