ARLESHEIM, Switzerland – Last year’s Tour de France winner, Geraint Thomas, was not seriously hurt on Tuesday in the crash that forced him to abandon the Tour de Suisse, Team INEOS said.
The Welshman suffered abrasions to his shoulder and a cut just above his right eye, INEOS said, adding that the incident was unlikely to prevent Thomas from defending his Tour de France title.
“Clearly it’s frustrating and a small setback for my Tour de France preparations, but there’s still plenty of time before we start in Brussels in a few weeks’ time,” Thomas said. “We will recalibrate and I’m sure my coach Tim (Kerrison) will have a plan in place to ensure I’m ready for July 6.”
The 33-year-old cyclist went down roughly 30km from the finish line of Stage 4 from Murten to Arlesheim in an incident involving the Astana team’s Andrey Zeits.
“There was a lip in the road that came out of nowhere. An Astana rider hit the lip and crashed and I had nowhere to go,” Thomas said. “I landed on my shoulder and my face and there was quite a bit of blood. You’ve always got to be cautious with a head injury, and whilst I was keen to carry on, the doctors made the right decision to pull me out of the race.”
The Team INEOS doctor, Derick Macleod, confirmed that he and the team management decided to withdraw Thomas from the race because “the main area of impact was to his head.”
“He passed his initial concussion roadside test, but with the nature and severity of the impact, it was felt unsafe for him to continue in the race. He was taken to hospital and thankfully all the X-rays and scans have come back clear. He’s now back in the team hotel and in good spirits,” Macleod said.
Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome was set to be the Team INEOS leader in this year’s edition of the race until he received major injuries in a crash during the Criterium du Dauphine.
“Knowing Geraint, it won’t take him long to get back on his bike but we’ll need to ensure he’s symptom free in the next few days before he does so,” Macleod said.