Injury and illness report continued

The crash on the Kemmel

The crash on the Kemmel (Image credit: Sirotti)

The peloton continues to be impacted by injuries and illnesses that have plagued the European professionals all season long. In Spain, three of the Quickstep-Innergetic riders pulled out of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco race due to health problems. Bram Tankink, who was sitting in second place in the overall classification after stage three was forced to pull out this morning because of intestinal problems.

Part way through the fourth stage, Giovanni Visconti pulled out of the race because of respiratory problems, and mid-way through the stage Serge Baguet also abandoned the race. "I really struggled today," Baguet said, "unfortunately I had to slow down my training programme due to the back pain I was suffering with last week. Thankfully my back isn't a problem anymore, but I just wasn’t ready today to face such an hard race."

Wilson: 'Kemmelberg descent could be sealed'

The list of injured riders from Gent-Wevelgem continues to grow. Cyclingnews got word from Australian Matt Wilson, who was involved in the crash on the second descent off the Kemmel. He was taken to the hospital with a suspected broken wrist, but x-rays did not detect any break. However, he will have to wait for the swelling to go down before having further tests.

Wilson added his voice to criticism of the inclusion of the treacherous cobbled descent that felled so many riders. "Has anyone considered sealing the descent? It's yet another example of the riders being put last. Pat McQuaid said 'Danger is part of cycling' and 'it would change the character of the race to remove the Kemmel'... Say that to Jimmy Casper who is today getting his lips and tongue sewn back together."

Wilson wouldn't be upset to see the road paved or taken out of future editions of Gent-Wevelgem. "I don't think that sealing the descent would change much except give the photographers less carnage to take pictures of. The truth is the blood and guts gets ratings. It's one of the most dangerous sports in the world, we all accept that, but the race organisers are the ones who can minimise those risks if they really want to."

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