Watch: Dozens of Riders Downed in Mass Crash at All-Female Tour de France
More than 30 riders in the all-female Tour de France Femmes crashed and piled on each other Thursday during the race’s fifth stage.
Eurosport captured footage of the moments after cyclists crashed into each other and got entangled among themselves.
“It was chaotic, people were screaming everywhere, and mechanics, directors and doctors came running – it was chaotic,” Canadian cyclist Magdeleine Vallieres Mill told Cycling News after reaching the finish line.
A huge crash wiped out a chunk of the peloton on Stage 5 at the Tour de France Femmes…pic.twitter.com/JLJgvUEblA
— Rex Chapman?? (@RexChapman) July 29, 2022
During the race, Mill had to wrench her feet out from the spokes of a fellow cyclist’s bicycle, the outlet reported.
“I had one girl, maybe two girls on top of me. I have no idea how I got my foot stuck in the wheel. It was someone else’s bike. It took a while because it was really stuck and we had to take off the wheel to get my foot out,” Mill said, according to Cycling News.
The incident occurred on a stretch of straight road between Bar-le-Luc to Saint-die-des-Vosges, CNN reported.
Danish cyclist Emma Norsgaard Bjerg had to discontinue the race after sustaining injuries to her head, neck and left shoulder during the pile-up, CNN reported.
On Friday, the Movistar Cycling team announced that Bjerg did not receive any fractures due to the crash.
“The Danish rider will remain under medical observation and rest for 24 hours, to monitor any after-effects from the incident,” the team said.
There was a broad range of speculation as to how the accident occurred, with some speculating riders lost concentration while others claimed the wheels of the bikes touched at one point, triggering a domino effect, Cycling News reported.
Others, however, opined that some of the riders might have swerved to avoid hitting a water bottle lying in the middle of their route, according to the outlet.
“I’m not sure, it was a bit in front of me, and then everyone fell over each other and there was no place to go. I didn’t have a choice,” Mill said. She had a swollen ankle from the injury.
However, according to Cycling News, Mill believed the injury would not hinder her from starting the sixth stage of the race.
“I tried to stay calm, figure out how to get out and back to the race. I was looking around to see what was stuck, and how to get out without hurting each other,” the cyclist said, adding that she immediately notified her team directors via radio of the incident.
Cyclists Coralie Demay of Team St Michel-Auber93, Marta Bastianelli of UAE Team ADQ, Letizia Borghesi of EF Education-TIBCO-SVB, and Chantal van den Broek Blaak of SD Worx were among the wounded that day, Cycling News reported.
“I have some stitches in my elbow but I don’t have pain so, it’s OK, it could have been better but…” Van den Broek Blaak told the outlet.
“In the race, I went to the medical car because I could see that then it didn’t stop bleeding, and they already helped me at the team car with a towel and a hairband from Anna [van der Breggen],” she said. “When I went to the medical doctor, he said you need to come back after the race for stitches. I did and it looks good. I don’t have pain so it’s no problem.”
The final stage of the eight-stage race was scheduled for Sunday.
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