Horror at the Giro - low-flying helicopter blamed as Italian cyclist suffers suspected broken back

By Sports Desk October 06, 2020

An Italian cyclist was left with a suspected broken back amid a nightmarish catalogue of injuries after being struck by debris said to have been blown his way by a low-flying helicopter at the Giro d'Italia.

Luca Wackermann, 28, was struck by a barrier near the end of stage four of the race, according to his team - Vini Zabu–KTM - who said the incident could have resulted in "heavier consequences".

They listed extensive injuries including blows to his nose, dental arch, chin, arms and legs. It is feared Wackermann suffered a serious back blow with a lumbosacral fracture, with further checks to be carried out to verify that damage.

Wackermann and team-mate Etienne van Empel were taken out after gusts apparently caused by a race helicopter sent barriers into their path.

Van Empel later wrote on Twitter: "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."

But the news was miserable for Wackermann, who suffered extensive physical blows.

In a statement, his team revealed the injuries, saying: "The first report from the Universitary Hospital of Messina, where the rider has been moved after the crash, says that Wackermann suffered a concussion following a head injury, a fracture of the nasal bones, multiple contusions to the face and in the lumbosacral zone, a valid contusion to the lips and to the dental arch, lacerated wounds to the left eyebrow, on the chin and on the right knee, multiple bruises to arms and legs and a suspected lumbosacral fracture that is gonna be x-rayed again.

"Wackermann will spend the night in the hospital kept under observation and losing that chance to live a dream vanished because of an episode that could have brought some heavier consequences."

In his hospital bed, Wackermann was pictured by his team in a post on Twitter looking battered and bruised but attempting to raise a smile and giving a thumbs-up to the camera.

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    Egan Bernal stays in the maglia rosa going into the first rest day of this year's Giro, which will resume on Wednesday with a 162km ride from Perugia to Montalcino back on gravel roads.
     

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    1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 3:10:56
    2. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) same time
    3. Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) "
    4. Stefano Oldani (Lotto Soudal) "
    5. Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Fenix) "

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    General Classification

    1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 38:30:17
    2. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0.14
    3. Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +0.22

    Points Classification

    1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 108
    2. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 91
    3. Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) 91

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    1. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 51
    2. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 48
    3. Gino Mader (Bahrain Victorious) 44

  • Bernal climbs into Giro lead after long-awaited stage win Bernal climbs into Giro lead after long-awaited stage win

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    1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 4:08:23
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    1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 35:19:22
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    3. Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +0.21

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    3. Elia Viviani (Cofidis) 69

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    1. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 51
    2. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 48
    3. Gino Mader (Bahrain Victorious) 44

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    1. Victor Lafay (Cofidis) 4:06:47
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