Shocking footage from yesterday's Amgen Tour of California shows a neutral service mechanic helping Cannondale-Drapac rider Toms Skujins back onto his bike despite the rider being clearly extremely dazed following a heavy crash, the Latvian narrowly avoiding getting hit by race vehicles and fellow riders as he staggered across the road.
— Christus_Rex (@Christus_Rex) May 15, 2017
Skujins, who had been riding in the break when he crashed, sustained concussion, a left collarbone fracture, and road rash, said his team, which pulled him off the race immediately it became aware of the seriousness of the situation.
The Latvian rider, twice a stage winner at the race, said: “I’m feeling all right.
“I’m really bummed, of course. Besides that, I’m healthy. I’m good.
"We’ll assess with the team doctors and figure things out moving forward.
"Thank you to all the messages from my fans and my friends — but I won’t be able to answer them because I shouldn’t be looking at my phone.”
I would never suggest getting in a fight with tarmac because you will loose. pic.twitter.com/YCqHNbgwDc
— Toms Skujiņš (@Tomashuuns) May 16, 2017
The team's sports director, Tom Southam, said: “Toms' crash obviously had a huge impact on us today.
"It was a high-speed crash and unfortunately it happened at a time when the race was fragmented, which delays information and makes these situations extremely hard.
"Toms instinctively continued riding but it was clear that he couldn’t go on.
"It’s a blow for the team and for his own ambitions but that was a serious fall, and racing can take a back seat while he heals.”
He is now subject to the team's internal concussion protocol which will involve its medical staff working alongside him to determine when he can return to racing.
Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of team owner Slipstream Sports, said: “Concussion recovery varies from person to person and from day to day.
"We’ll evaluate Toms daily and he’ll need to pass a cognitive test before he returns to hard training or racing.
"His health is the most important thing to all of us.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.