Many of you witnessed the horrific crash of Toms Skujins, yesterday. I was watching it live on NBC Sports Gold while on my trainer. Toms had worked so hard and rode beautifully, climbing Mount Hamilton and descending just as well. He had crashed last year, only to get up and mount his machine and ride to victory . . . not this time. The crash itself was bad enough, but how he was physically, when trying to stand, was terrible to watch. He was trying desperately to ride and obviously had no idea where he was and was on total autopilot. I likened Toms’s attempt to ride and how I felt when watching a boxer who is obviously beaten badly and will not go down.
The Tour of California always puts on a good race. The courses and riders are well taken care of. Maybe there was not anything anyone could do, but THAT is a huge problem that ALL race organizers should sit down and find an immediate solution. The neutral service guy was there to help the rider fix his bike and maybe should have even intervened in Toms’s attempt at riding again. True, it is not the mechanic’s job . . . but Toms needed help and needed assistance for his personal safety: he was obviously suffering from a blow to the head (even when he attempted to mount and fell again) AND he was in the traffic of other bicycles descending at 45 MPH! After he did make it onto his bike, it was VERY obvious that he was in danger. There MUST be intervention somewhere for this type of problem. Wait! Do not respond to this and tell me about gaps and race officials and where cars are allowed. Something must change. A solution as simple as medical personnel stationed along the course would be something better! The riders’ safety is always paramount. Everything turning out okay actually hurts this kind of issue. Oh, I am so thankful that it did, but what if Tom remounts his bike and rides straight off a cliff because he has no idea where he is? It very well could have happened!
Coincidentally, Trek and Cannondale are the teams who are BIG proponents of concussion issues. Yes, Toms was eventually stopped and pulled off of his bike AFTER he had ridden ahead for four or five more miles. I was glad to see the team force the issue of him getting off of his bike. A rider is not in the frame of mind to make that decision when suffering from head trauma. I wish my little blog had more reach. I wish I could shout this from the roof tops. I want to pound my fist on the desk of a UCI head honcho. Just take a look at Velonews, today. Nothing about the seriousness of this issue. It should be front and center. What a shame.