Amgen Tour of California officials said Tuesday that the incident involving Toms Skujins (Cannondale-Drapac) being pushed back into the race after suffering a concussion in a crash was due to a ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances that created a potentially dangerous situation for the rider and his fellow competitors.
More than 24 hours after an obviously distressed and injured Skujins was pushed back into the race by neutral support following a hard crash during stage 2, Race Management Director Jean-Michel Monin and Race Doctor Ramin Modabber addressed the incident and took questions from the media.
Skujins had been in the early breakaway and then soloed on alone after Mt. Hamilton before being caught by the GC group that had been chasing him. The Cannondale rider tagged onto the back of the group but then hit the deck while descending off the Quimby Road climb with 22 kilometres remaining.
Skujins had trouble standing and fell over when he initially tried to remount his bike. The neutral mechanic then assisted Skujins and pushed him back into the race. Monin said his car came up alongside the rider about a minute later, then Skujins’ team car and the medical car arrived another 1:45 later and were able to coax the rider off his bike.
Skujins suffered a concussion, broken collarbone and abrasions in the crash, but he was not injured further after re-entering the race. Nevertheless, serious questions arose from horrified observers who watched the mechanic push the distressed and injured rider back into action.
While many people voiced concerns on social media about the mechanic’s decision to help Skujins back into the race, others pointed out that the mechanic was simply doing his job, which does not include making medical diagnosis about a rider’s physical condition.
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