Photo Courtesy : Graham Watson
Rumors are flying out left and right that the certain "something in the road" that caused Jens Voigt to crash on the final descent in today's stage was infact not on the road but on his bike. His steerer tube snapped or so, it seems. I have no clue. Now I have immense respect for Jens as a bike rider and like many around the world, was absolutely horrified at the crash. According to some of the official doctors at the Tour, his main injuries seem to be mostly all around the face. We can't tell for sure what he's broken until the scan results come out from Grenoble, but suffice to say - Jens' Tour is over. Let's focus a moment on what happened to the bike, if that's what caused this mess. Does anyone have any clue? Feed any information you have here. We'd all appreciate it. Any of you in France at the moment? Bonjour!
Here's a video, magnified and played in slow-motion courtesy of Sporza. Seeing this makes you doubt that this crash had anything to do with a bike failure. Just keep your focus on the back wheel and then onto Jens' left hand. Check out how he changes his hand position from the hoods to the drops at precisely the wrong time, when the bike had that short 'bounce'. The time frame of importance is between 0:12-0:18 secs.
3 collective observations from me and people who commented :
1) A distinct 'bounce' of the bike as he rides over two different road surfaces, one possibly old and one new. The bike slides out a fraction of a second after this road demarcation, as it comes over the white road surface marking. Whether the white marking was slippery due to motor oil or wet paint is debatable and not factual at this point. The crash happened on the descent near La Rosière and the weather in these alpine areas do get wet. For example, there's a 40% chance of rain at noon there on Wed, July 22.
2) His left hand momentarily lost contact with the handlebars and his body bounced away from the saddle thus losing two critical points of body-bike contact. How often can you stand on a bike with simply a right hand on the drops?
3) I suspect his right hand, which we cannot see, exerted a force on the bars causing the wheel to turn leftward and completely slide out. I think what Jens was trying to do when the bike bounced was to get to the drops as soon as possible to bring the bike to stability. It didn't happen the way he wanted it.
The most clear picture of the bike's front end yet. Thanks to Luc and others for the pic. Handlebars are intact. Steerer tube ok, yes because the wheel and fork are still attached. Jens does not look good. Right cheekbone fracture and concussion. But no other fatal injuries. Jens is going to love it when he gets up from that hospital bed and reads this.
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