Lidl-Trek’s Tour of Flanders hopes hanging by a thread after Pedersen and Stuyven crash out of Dwars door Vlaanderen

Pedersen is a doubt for the Tour of Flanders, with Stuyven ruled out

Clock19:55, Wednesday 27th March 2024
Mads Pedersen is a question mark for the Tour of Flanders

© Getty Images

Mads Pedersen is a question mark for the Tour of Flanders

Within a blink of an eye, Lidl-Trek’s hopes for the men’s Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix took a drastic turn for the worse with Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven both involved in a huge crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday.

The incident, which occurred with 67km to go, took down almost a dozen riders, with the Lidl-Trek pair coming down alongside teammate Alex Kirsch, Wout van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike) and Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty). Van Aert left for the hospital immediately and was later diagnosed with a broken collarbone and several broken ribs, and the situation wasn’t that much better for Lidl-Trek.

Read more: Wout van Aert out of Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix with broken collarbone and ribs

Stuyven was immediately taken to a local hospital with a suspected broken collarbone, and Kirsch joined him later due to as-yet-unspecified injuries.

The crash itself came out of nowhere but in the aftermath, as the cameras panned round, the press room at the finish descended into a hush Pedersen could be seen on the ground. He looked forlorn, almost staring in disbelief as those around him were treated for their wounds.

The Dane gingerly got up after several minutes before remounting and attempting to rejoin the race. In the end, however, he made a beeline for the finish and headed off course to seek the sanctuary of the team bus in Waregem.

Crashes are, unfortunately, part and parcel of the sport but this one had seismic ramifications on the Classics season and hit Lidl-Trek especially hard after Pedersen had capped a fantastic team performance to win Gent-Wevelgem last Sunday. His chances of racing Flanders are slim, his hopes of victory are hanging by a thread at this point and at the team bus in Waregem the team staff were working overtime to support their riders and quell some of the speculation that had surrounded their position at the finish.

“We don’t know what’s happened but we know that many, many guys were very bad on the floor. There were three of us and now one is at the hospital, another is on his way to the hospital and we’ll know more,” sports director Gregory Rast told GCN, as he stood hands on hips outside a team car.

“Mads went back to the finish on his bike,” Rast added, before confirming that Pedersen had gone through the concussion protocol before getting back on his bike.

With Stuyven out, Kirsch an unknown and Pedersen’s condition unclear as Flanders approaches, the team will have to wait and see how their Dane recovers over the next few days. This has already been a successful Spring Classics campaign for the Dane and his American squad but it wasn’t just skin that was left on the roadside of Dwars door Vlaanderen with 67km to go, but a sense of what might have been come Sunday, when Pedersen and his collective looked like the main challenge to Mathieu van der Poel’s path to victory.

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