The final stage of the USA Pro Challenge was marred by an horrific crash in the opening kilometers of the final stage from Boulder to Denver that left Jamis-Hagens Berman rider Ian Crane in serious condition in a local hospital.
Crane had suffered a minor spill about 30km into the 126km stage and had gone back to the team car for a bike change. While he was chasing back through the line of team cars following the race, there was a sudden stop of the vehicles in front of him and Crane crashed through the back window of the Cannondale team car.
The 25-year-old from Seattle, Washington suffered severe facial trauma, and was taken to a hospital where he is in stable condition.
Team director Ed Beamon said the team would remain optimistic that Crane can make a full recovery, but it would be 24 hours before the extent of his injuries is fully known.
"Everything the doctors have been telling us has been positive," Beamon said. "They said there were no life threatening injuries, but he did suffer severe trauma, and he has been sedated. His parents have been notified and are on their way."
Crashes in the race caravan are relatively rare, considering the risks that riders take to try and regain the field after an incident, drafting off of vehicles at speeds sometimes as high as 100kph. Beamon was not sure what caused the crash, whether it was the cross-winds that the race was experiencing during that part of the stage, or other factors, but placed no blame on the drivers.
"Each driver only has two eyes, not the 20 they really need to keep up with everything that's going on. The riders are very motivated to get back in, and they're taking more risks that one would normally take on a normal ride."
Having heard of the crash, USA Cycling president and CEO Steve Johnson issued the following statement on behalf of the federation.
"On behalf of the USA Cycling community I would like to express our deepest concern for Ian at this critical time," he said. "While we await further news, our thoughts and prayers will be with Ian, his family and the medical team that is attending to his needs."