Italian cyclist Luca Wackermann is reported to have been left with multiple fractures, contusions, and concussion after a freak crash in the final kilometers of Tuesday’s fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday.
Wackermann and Vini Zabu-KTM teammate Etienne van Empel were knocked to the ground after a low-flying media helicopter blew race barriers into the road as the peloton ripped into the sprint finish in Villafranca Tirrena.
Wackermann is reported to have suffered fractured nasal bones and a suspected vertebral fracture, along with contusions to the face, lips, mouth and lower back. The 28-year-old has also been left with multiple lacerations and bruises. He was taken away in an ambulance after the stage after being left unconscious, and when he came around he claimed to have no memory of the incident.
Van Empel was lucky to come away with only small cuts.
“The helicopter flew too low and the fences were not properly secured, so they were blown onto the course,” Vini Zabu KTM manager Angelo Citracca told RAI yesterday. “It was impossible for the riders to avoid the gates.”
Riders’ group the CPA is looking to assess further how the incident was caused, which Giro organizers RCS Sport is reporting was caused by a helicopter being used by Italian state broadcaster RAI.
“Our delegate is investigating what happened today at the Giro,” stated the CPA on Tuesday. “Clearly whoever caused this serious and unacceptable accident will have to take responsibility.”
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! https://t.co/SVB9riYd9p
— CPA Cycling (@cpacycling) October 6, 2020