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VN news ticker: Koen de Kort loses three fingers as result of off-road vehicle accident, Team Qhubeka-Assos rebrands as Team Qhubeka-NextHash

Here's the news making the headlines on Thursday, June 24.

Koen de Kort loses three fingers as result of off-road vehicle accident

Koen de Kort (Trek-Segafredo) was involved in an off-road vehicle accident the team reported Thursday, and suffered injuries leading to the surgical amputation of three digits.

The seriousness of his injuries required emergency transfer via helicopter to Hospital Parc Tauli, in Sabadell, in Barcelona.

After assessing the severity of the situation, a decision was made for immediate surgical intervention, and de Kort underwent amputation of the third, fourth, and fifth fingers of his right hand.

“Unfortunately, Koen has lost the third, fourth, and fifth finger of his right hand. The amputation has been total removal,” Trek-Segafredo physician Dr. Manuel Rodrìguez Alonso said. “Dr. Jorge Serrano, who operated on him and to whom we must thank for his work, told me that from the first findings the functionality of the hand will be maintained thanks to the thumb and index finger. The latter also suffered considerable damage but, thanks to the efforts of the doctors, was saved from amputation.”

De Kort, 38, has been with Trek-Segafredo since 2017. He raced the 2021 Giro d’Italia as a support rider, finishing in 134th place. In 2020, he also raced as a support rider at the Vuelta a España, ultimately finishing in 83rd position. Early on in his career, the Dutchman won the 2004 Paris–Roubaix Espoirs.

Alexandre Vinokourov no longer Astana team principal

Alexandre Vinokourov, the Kazakh ex-pro who founded the team, will no longer have a management role at Astana-Premier Tech.

L’Equipe reported Thursday that he was abruptly removed from team management just days before the start of the 2021 Tour de France, and the news was later confirmed by the team.

Steve Bauer and Giuseppe Martinelli will take over in the interim and will lead the team at the Tour de France. Vinokourov, who has begun a legal challenge according to L’Equipe, will take up another position within the team — though it is not clear what this role will be.

“We can confirm that Alexandr Vinokurov will not be present at the Tour de France this year as he will step down as Sports Team Principal,” Astana-Premier Tech managing director Yana Sell said. “Alexandr still remains part of the team but he will not be in charge of the team’s sporting operations at the moment and will move into another role.

“I hope that during this period Giuseppe Martinelli and Steve Bauer will work well together to lead the team from a performance standpoint and guide our riders to success, starting here at the Tour de France where Steve will work alongside Dmitry Fofonov and Stefano Zanini.”

Astana was formed specifically for Vinokourov in the wake of the Operación Puerto doping scandal in 2006. He later went on to win the Olympic gold medal in 2012.

The team suffered financial difficulties in 2020 and Canadian tech company Premier Tech joined as a cosponsor coming into the season.

Team Qhubeka-Assos rebrands as Team Qhubeka-NextHash

Qhubeka-Assos rebrands as Qhubeka-NextHash.
Qhubeka-Assos rebrands as Qhubeka-NextHash. Photo: Qhubeka-NextHash

Team Qhubeka-Assos announced Thursday a rebranding as Team Qhubeka-NextHash.

The five-year partnership with NextHash, which has a presence in the traditional financial industry as well as being involved in the emergent blockchain and crypto-currency technologies.

“I am incredibly happy to welcome NextHash, our official cryptocurrency and blockchain partner, into our family of partnerships and into our team name for the remainder of 2021,” said team principal Douglas Ryder. “The whole sports industry is moving towards a digital universe and this long-term partnership will help us innovate and develop new and interactive approaches to engage with our fans.”

Since the inception of the team a year ago when it took over the WorldTour license from NTT Pro Cycling (which was previously known as Team Dimension Data), Assos, the Swiss-based performance apparel manufacturer has been clear that it was looking to step back from the co-sponsorship role.

“NextHash is delighted to be partnering with Team Qhubeka to create ‘Team Qhubeka NextHash’ — competing at the highest level of professional cycling, the UCI WorldTour,” CEO of NextHash Ana Bencic said. “NextHash will work hand-in-hand with Team Qhubeka to socially and environmentally responsibly bring our products and services to a huge new audience through this amazing global sport and team.”

“I look forward to our teams working together to build future successes, on and off the road, and take this opportunity to wish our riders every success at the 2021 Tour de France,” Bencic added.

Qhubeka-NextHash is bringing Sergio Henao, Carlos Barbero, Sean Bennett, Victor Campenaerts, Simon Clarke, Nick Dlamini, Michael Gogl, and Max Walscheid to the Tour de France which is set to start Saturday.

Maurits Lammertink seriously injured after being hit by a scooter

Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert rider, Maurits Lammertink has been left in serious condition after he was hit by a scooter while out with his family in the Netherlands.

According to a report on the Dutch website Tubantia, the 30-year-old Lammertink was getting ice cream for his family in the Dutch town of Hengelo when he was hit.

Ambulance staff parked nearby were able to attend to Lammertink quickly and he was taken to hospital, where he underwent surgery for a brain hemorrhage. Lammertink was on a break from racing after riding the Dutch national championships last weekend.

“On Tuesday evening, Maurits Lammertink was struck by a scooter near his home while walking with his family,” Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert wrote on social media. “He suffers, among other things, from head trauma and underwent surgery for brain hemorrhage. His condition is now stable and the injuries are not life-threatening anymore. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert would like to thank the medical team and wish Maurits the smoothest recovery possible.”