Katusha-Alpecin's Marco Haller was struck by a motorist who ran a stop sign while training in Austria on Thursday, suffering multiple fractures to his left knee. The team estimate he will be out for several months and will miss the Tour de France, where he was due to be one of Marcel Kittel's main lead-out men.
"It was my second day back on the bike, after I had to recover from a second viral infection in the 2018 season," Haller said from the Landeskrankenhaus hospital in Villach.
"I was riding with Bernie Eisel and was sitting in his wheel in a slight downhill, when suddenly a car, ignoring the stop sign, came at us from the right. Bernie just managed to escape him, but I could not do that and hit the driver's door at full speed. My bike was completely destroyed and my knee as well."
Haller suffered double fractures to his patella and a fracture to his left femur.
The incident comes nearly a year to the day that Michele Scarponi was struck and killed by a distracted driver near his home in Italy.
Earlier in the week, George Bennett (LottoNl-Jumbo) was struck by a driver who turned into his path while he was previewing the time trial course for the Giro d'Italia. He escaped with minor injuries and is currently racing the Tour of the Alps.
"I am very disappointed. Not only at missing the Tour de France but also because of - again - the attitude of some car drivers," Haller said.
"Cars and cyclists share the road but this seems to be more and more difficult. Some mentality needs to change."
Download the Cyclingnews Film The Holy Week! Rent ($1.99 USD) or purchase ($4.99 USD) from Vimeo On Demand. You can watch the trailer below, with options to buy or rent at the end.