Incident will doubtless put spotlight back on rider safety

Lotto-Soudal's Tiesj Benoot has abandoned Paris-Roubaix this afternoon following a crash reportedly involving a Team Jumbo-Visla car.  

In a statement this evening, his team said: "The 117th edition of Paris-Roubaix, won by Philippe Gilbert, became one of bad luck for Lotto Soudal.

"In an effort to return to the head of the race after an earlier crash and puncture, Tiesj Benoot collided with a team car.

"Examination in the hospital has shown that both the right hip and right shoulder are heavily bruised. There is also a crack in the right collarbone. Besides, Benoot incurred various cuts and bruises.

"Tomorrow, further examinations will follow to make a definitive diagnosis. The Lotto Soudal rider will not start in the Amstel Gold Race next Sunday."

The incident will undoubtedly see renewed examination of the safety of riders in relation to motor vehicles forming part of the race convoy, and comes on one of the sport’s biggest days of the year.

The crash was reported by the Belgian broadcaster Sporza with a little more than 70 kilometres of the race remaining.

The Belgian was said to be in tears after the crash and his Lotto-Soudal team subsequently confirmed that he had been taken to hospital for a check-up.

The 25-year-old, ninth in last Sunday’s Tour of Flanders and whose biggest career win to date came in last year’s Strade Bianche, had been seen as one of the leading contenders for today’s race.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.