New Zealander Jack Bauer suffered a horrendous crash in the Tour de France last night which has ended his race.
According to the CEO of his Garmin Sharp team, Johnathan Vaughters, Bauer fell off his bike once on the descent of the Col du Glandon on stage 19, due to a flat front tire, but then again after the wheel change, when he rode off the lip of the pavement.
"It was a very narrow part of the road, a lot of cars coming, motor bikes. His wheel slipped from the roadside, and caught in a hole in a ditch and flipped him over the bars," team director Charly Wegelius told Velo News.
The Glandon descent is sweeping and fast for long periods, but with some tight corners also.
His first crash was bad enough, but in the second he careered down into a ditch and planted his face straight into a barbed-wire fence.
"He got going again on the descent, and just because there were cars coming by on the descent, on his left hand, I think he got a little spooked by one of the cars," Vaughters said.
"He went off the side of the road and it was where the pavement had a big differential, and he went into a ditch and just lipped over right into this half barbwire - I don't know if it was electric or not, but the way he was screaming, it sure seemed like it."
"The wires went into his face. It was ... really unfortunate accident. No one really to blame, just one of those things that happens when people are tired and the tension is on," he said.
News agency Agence France Presse reported that x-ray evaluation had returned negative for facial fractures and that Bauer had been released from the hospital.
"He's fine. He had a bunch of stitches in his face," Vaughters said after the stage ended. "So for all the ladies out there, he's a little uglier than he was before. But don't worry - it'll heal up."
The stage was won by Rui Costa from Portugal. Greg Henderson is the only New Zealander left in this year's Tour.
- Fairfax Media