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Kroon suffers facial fractures in Flèche Wallonne crash

Karsten Kroon (BMC) after a frightening crash.

Karsten Kroon (BMC) after a frightening crash. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Karsten Kroon is fortunate to have escaped serious injury following a high-speed crash during yesterday's Fléche Wallonne. He suffered facial fractures and wounds in the nasty pileup that also claimed RadioShack's Yaroslav Popovych but hopes to recover in time to ride the Amgen Tour of California in mid-May.

BMC management said that the Dutchman was able to join his teammates for a celebratory dinner last night following Cadel Evans' victory ahead of Joaquin Rodriguez and Alberto Contador, although he then struggled to sleep and updated Cyclingnews on his injuries via email during the night.

"Unfortunately I have fractures, 3 to be precise, in my face. Broken nose, broken cheeckbone and broken sinusbone.... Also some stitches. I look ridiculous but I think it will heal good and pretty fast. Hope to be back in Tour of California!" Kroon wrote at four o'clock in the morning.

The crash occurred approximately 75km from the finish, when Team Milram's Dominik Roels came down on a bend, taking out several riders, including Kroon, as he slid across the road. The German hit the rail barrier hard, suffering multple cuts and bruises. Kroon came off even worse and waited for medical assistance with blood running down his face.

"His face is extremely swollen and his eye is totally closed," said BMC Racing team director John Lelangue. "We will need a few days for the swelling to go down, then we will see how things will go."

It was terrible timing for Kroon, who had hoped to again challenge for victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège after missing out at last Sunday's Amstel Gold Race, where he finished ninth. He will now return home to recover with his family. "We'll definitely give him time to recover and come back to a normal level," Lelangue added.