AG2R-La Mondiale’s Jesse Sergent has been forced to retire from professional cycling at the age of 28 due to the serious injuries he sustained when the driver of a Shimano neutral service car knocked him from his bike when he was in the break at the Tour of Flanders last year.
The New Zealander, twice an Olympic bronze medallist on the track in the team pursuit, needed three operations on his collarbone after the incident in April 2015.
As the video above shows, the driver of the car tried to squeeze past the breakaway group through a gap that was simply not there, knocking Sergent, then riding for Trek Factory Racing, from his bike.
His coach Mike McRedmond, quoted on Stuff.co.nz, said: "It's been a tough 12 months for Jesse, with that crash he had last year, with the car hitting him.
"That was a big setback. They thought it would take six to eight weeks, but it took him three months because they ballsed up the operation.
"That put a dampener on his year and then he changed teams and going into a French-speaking team is a very hard transition."
McRedmond added: "The life of a pro cyclist is really tough; it's really, really hard.
"You have to train every day, you've got a big race programme and a lot of people who don't understand the sport don't understand how hard it is. It just wears you down."
Sergent’s best year on the road came in 2011, his first full season on the WorldTour wih RadioShack, when he won the overall titles at the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen and the Tour International du Poitou Charentes, as well as a stage in the Eneco Tour.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.