Sergio Paulinho (Tinkoff-Saxo) was forced to abandon the Vuelta a España on Wednesday after a motorcycle clipped him early in stage 11.
— Oleg Tinkov (@olegtinkov) September 2, 2015
Tinkoff-Saxo sport director Patxi Vila told Spanish television that the Portuguese veteran was struck by a television motorcycle on the ascent of the first of six climbs across Andorra. Paulinho’s left leg was bleeding, and unable to continue in the race, he was transported to a local hospital, where he was given 17 stitches.
The incident comes on the heels of a pair of high-profile crashes involving riders and vehicles in the race caravan.
Earlier this season, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) was knocked off his bike on the final decisive climb within 10km of the finish line of the Clásica San Sebastián. Riders were also knocked off their bikes by a car during the Tour of Flanders in April.
Later in the day, Tinkoff-Saxo announced more details of the Paulinho incident:
“According to team doctor Peter Lagrou, Sergio Paulinho suffered from a serious cut on his left leg under the knee. Following the accident with the motorcycle, he was brought to the hospital Nostra Senyora de Meritxell at ER. The cut was so deep that the tibia was visible, with a hematoma and several bleeding veins and an arteriole (small artery). X-rays were made and revealed no fractures or cortical alterations. After cleaning and disinfection, stitches were applied on the bleeding veins and arteriole, in addition to subcutaneous and cutaneous to stop the bleeding and close the cut. Healing will take at least 10 days, if there are no complications, before Paulinho can continue revalidation.”