Maud Kaptheijns managed two emphatic wins this weekend, despite paying a visit to hospital after cutting her knee open on her own disc brake. Kaptheijns had blood pouring down her left leg as she raced to victory at De Grote Prijs van Brabant, an injury reportedly caused by her disc brake rotor, according to news agency ANP.
Disc brakes have been a controversial sticking point in road racing since their trial introduction at the end of the 2015 season. Some riders have claimed to be injured by disc brakes, including Francisco Ventoso at the 2016 Paris-Roubaix. Owain Doull also claimed that damage to his shoe in a crash at the Abu Dhabi Tour in February was caused by a disc brake, although this was disputed by the industry.
The road disc brake trial was only meant to last a season, but it is set to continue during the 2018 season, its fourth year. Disc brakes have been in common usage in mountain biking for some time and over the past few years have become the predominant braking system in cyclo-cross without much debate over their safety. Injuries like Kaptheijns' are rarely mentioned.
Kaptheijns pushed through the pain after she crashed while in the lead of Saturday's De Grote Prijs van Brabant. Adrenaline doing its job, she remounted and went on to beat the chasing Loes Sels by 11 seconds. She managed to stand for the podium ceremony but looked to be in a lot of pain and was soon taken off in a wheelchair, her podium flowers still in hand, to the hospital.
The 23-year-old Dutch rider required stitches to close the wound but promised to be back on the start line at the fourth round of the Superprestige in Ruddervoorde.
Despite the injury, Kaptheijns held onto repeated attacks and then pushed clear on the final lap to seal her fourth straight win in the competition and extend her overall lead.