Max Walscheid‘s hot start to the season was derailed by a collision with a car that left him thankful for his life Thursday.
The Cofidis cobble-basher was hit by a car while training Thursday near his home in Franken, Germany. The 28-year-old was helicoptered to hospital in a collision he said left his bicycle “completely destroyed” but miraculously left him with only bruising.
“The first thing that comes to my mind is that I was incredibly lucky to survive this accident. Even though we haven’t done all the X-rays yet, I obviously don’t have any broken bones,” Walscheid said in a team statement.
“I was just doing classic training after Brugge-De Panne. I was on a calm road, in perfect conditions. Fortunately, I was not advancing very quickly, on the side of the road. A car came from the opposite direction. She suddenly turned to the right, without blinking, rushed at me and hit me. I didn’t even have time to do anything, nor to be afraid before the accident happened.”
Walscheid enjoyed a sizzling start to the season with victory at the “mini-Paris-Roubaix” GP Denain and second at Nokere Koerse. Only Wednesday, he finished fourth behind winner Tim Merlier at Brugge de Panne.
Although the German came away without broken bones, his scheduled starts at Dwars door Vlaanderen, Tour of Flanders and Scheldeprijs are now unlikely as Team Cofidis perform further checks on his head, breathing, and heart.
The news is the latest example of the day-to-day dangers faced by pros as they carry out essential training rides. Egan Bernal’s horror crash in January showed the danger of the open road.
Walscheid rued the loss of racing time but focussed first on his near-escape.
“I still can’t believe I was able to pull through without much deeper wounds,” he said. “It just comes out of the understanding. At the same time, it’s very hard because I was particularly comfortable in racing, I had good results and the potential to do more. But today, I prefer above all to rejoice to be still alive.”