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Low helicopter causes big crash at Giro d'Italia

Joe Robinson
7 Oct 2020

Luka Wackermann taken to hospital after crashing into barriers blown onto course by helicopter

Rider safety has been put into the spotlight again after a rider was left with a series of serious injuries at the Giro d'Italia after a helicopter blew barriers into the road on Stage 4.

Vini Zabu-KTM rider Luka Wackermann was taken to hospital after Stage 4 to Villafranca Tirrena after colliding with a set of barriers that had fallen into the final kilometre of the course. It was reported that a race helicopter blew the barriers into the road after flying too low.

Wackermann and his teammate Etienne van Empel both crashed into the barriers at speed. While Van Empel was able to ride to the finish, Wackermann was transported to hospital with serious injuries.

The Italian ProTour team confirmed a long list of injuries to Wackermann that included head and face abrasions, a fracture to his nasal bones, contusions to the face and spine and cuts to the right knee.

Van Empel tweeted after the incident 'I am okay. Only some small cuts on my fingers. Not really sure what happened but out of nowhere the barriers flew into our group. For now, my thought is with my teammate Luca and hope some good news will arrive soon.'

In response, the Cyclistes Professionnels Associes (CPA) tweeted that it found the incident 'unacceptable' and an investigation would take place. 

'Our delegate is investigating what happened today at the #Giro, clearly whoever caused this serious and unacceptable accident will have to take responsibility. Forza @LucaWackermann and @etiennevanempel!'

American rider Brent Bookwalter then took to Twitter to explain the situation post-stage.

'Did anyone catch the crash that happened in our grupetto with 800 metres to go when the helicopter sent the unsecured barriers flying into riders just inches away from me?' wrote the Mitchelton-Scott man. 'One of them on a stretcher to the hospital.'

Bookwalter tagged UCI president David Lappartient, the UCI and the CPA riders union into the tweet.

Image: Vini Zabu-KTM twitter

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