Pro cycling is hard enough without having to dodge rogue advertising boards while riding to the startline.
Groupama-FDJ's Kevin Geniets was the unlucky rider rolling past the mixed zone interview area at the stage start in Nice when the sponsors' board on wheels caught a gust of wind and was sent toppling over the Luxembourg national champion.
Geniets fell heavily, sandwiched between the falling board and metal railings, and injured his ankle. Initial reports suggested he had been able to start the race's queen stage, but it has since been confirmed by the 25-year-old's team that he has abandoned the race.
— TV 2 SPORT (@TV2SPORTdk) March 12, 2022
The fall was captured by Danish TV channel TV 2 Sport, while cycling reporter Daniel Friebe was on the scene to witness the incident.
"Wind blew over a sponsor’s board at the start of Paris-Nice and it fell on Groupama-FDJ’s Kevin Geniets, injuring his ankle. Not sure at the moment whether he‘ll start," the ITV broadcaster tweeted.
Before quickly updating: "Geniets made it to start-line…a minute or two after peloton left. But he‘s still in the race."
"It happened on his way to sign on and he was down receiving treatment for ten minutes or so. Sign-on had closed by the time he got up," Friebe explained.
Shortly after, Groupama-FDJ confirmed their rider had abandoned after "a few kilometres".
Geniets then took to social media to share his, understandably frustrated, take on the morning's events...
— Geniets Kevin (@GenietsKevin) March 12, 2022
On the road, three of Geniets' teammates — David Gaudu, Olivier Le Gac and Quentin Pacher — have been spotted in the breakaway as the race heads to a summit finish at the Col de Turini.
The peloton had been expecting freezing temperatures and snow, not freewheeling advertising boards, to be the biggest danger on Stage 7. Even race leader and, well-known to the point of cliché, ex-ski jumper Primož Roglič said he hopes the snow stays away.
"I love snow for sure, but not when I'm riding a bike. I do other things on the snow, I prefer now sun and warmth when I'm riding the bike," the Slovenian told reporters.
"No one really likes to ride in the snow in the bike... Going up should be manageable. It will be super cold, super hard, but it's the queen stage, a mountain top finish, so hopefully I will have the legs."
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.