Eduardo Sepulveda (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) could be out of action for three months with a broken wrist after he was hit by a barrier near the finish of La Drome Classic on Sunday. Sepulveda was hit just metres from the line when the wind caught the barrier and blew it into the Argentinian.
The accident knocked him unconscious and he was left with a broken radius and scaphoid and a number of other injuries.
“I don’t know what to think, the bad luck follows me,” Sepulveda told Argentinian website Ciclismo International. “There was a steep slope at the finish and we were finishing one by one. Just as I passed around 125 metres to go, the wind blew up one of the barriers and it hit me directly."
“I lost consciousness and it took me a while to wake up, fortunately the scans went well in this sense. [I have] stitches in the face, broken teeth, a fractured scaphoid in several places. Tomorrow a specialist will operate on me in Lyon and I think that I will be three months without my bike.”
Sepulveda, who finished second at this year’s Tour de San Luis following a stage win on Cerro El Amago, is one of Argentina’s most promising climbing talents. He had also finished third in the youth classification at the Tour of Oman and is hoping to make his second appearance at the Tour de France later this year.
While the 24-year-old’s goal should be safe, he is likely to miss some important early season goals and he expressed his frustration with the incident.
“I will not miss the Tour de France but it very possible that I will not be at Fleche Wallonne and Liege,” he said. “What happened is unacceptable, and I am very angry.”
The crash is the second major one for Sepulveda in the past year. He was forced to end his 2015 season early after breaking his fibia in a crash curing the Coppa Agostoni, last September.
Safety for riders at races has become a big talking point yet again, with crashes caused by difficult finishes at the Tour of Qatar and La Provence. This weekend also saw Stig Broeckx hit by a medical motorbike during Sunday’s Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.