Pro cycling is a dangerous sport. Tight pelotons, slick roads, high-speed descents and crazy fans are just a few of the obstacles to overcome out on the road — making for a perfect, unfortunate recipe for some pretty horrific bike accidents when things go wrong.
If you’re up for it, here’s a look at a few of the worst cycling crashes in the pro peloton in 2017 and how they affected some of cycling’s biggest races.
Beware: Questionable tire/tire pressure
During stage one of Tirreno-Adriatico, Moscon, of Team Sky, shattered his carbon front wheel unexpectedly in the middle of the team time trial. The manufacturer later claimed the wheel broke because mechanics used a tire that was too narrow. When the rider hit a pothole at high speed, the higher tire pressure caused the malfunction. Moscon escaped serious injury.
Beware: Touch of wheels
Time trial specialist Martin suffered facial wounds that needed eight stitches above his right eye after crashing in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. The crash occurred with 55km to go after a touch of wheels, causing Martin to clip a parked car and head face first into the pavement. While he got back on the bike, he was forced to abandon the race a few kilometers later.
PETER SAGAN, GREG VAN AVERMAET
In one of the most dramatic crashes of the year, Tour de Flanders favorites Sagan, Van Avermaet and Naesen hit the cobbles at the worst possible moment while chasing down lone leader Philippe Gilbert with 17km to go. The crash occurred while Sagan moved to the side of the road toward a smoother surface, catching a fan’s jacket on his handlebars. Sagan was forced to wait for a new bike and never got back into contention.
Beware: Traffic island
As the peloton sped toward the finish of a stage at the 2017 Giro d’Italia, Kangert attempted to hop a traffic island. Unfortunately, he couldn’t avoid the road sign and was flung over his handlebars. A displaced right elbow and a broken left humerus caused Kangert to abandon the race and miss most of the season performing six months of rehabilitation.
Beware: Sharp bend
A sweeping right-hand bend during stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia took race favorite Quintana into a roadside crash barrier. While Quintana was lucky enough to escape injury, he was forced to wait for a spare bike. He rejoined the leaders several kilometers later to finish second on the stage.
Beware: Police motorcycle
A parked police motorcycle was the cause of this crash in the Giro d’Italia as cyclists spread across the road, not expecting to have to maneuver around a vehicle at a crucial point in the race. One of the riders involved in the crash was Thomas of Team Sky, who plummeted from second place to 14th and suffered a dislocated shoulder.
One of the most controversial crashes of the year occurred during the Tour de France when Mark Cavendish crashed on stage four during the sprint 200-meters from the finish. Cavendish attempted to pass fellow sprinter Sagan, but when Sagan felt his space closing he elbowed Cavendish into the barrier. Cavendish suffered a broken shoulder blade and was forced to abandon the race. Sagan was disqualified for his “unsporting” move.
Beware: Slick roads
A long, speedy descent on slick roads put an end to the Australian’s season as he crashed on a narrow left-hand bend on the Mont du Chant during the Tour de France. Porte fractured his clavicle and his pelvis and later claimed to have been lucky to walk away from the tragic accident without a more severe injury. Porte was expected to challenge former teammate Chris Froome in the race.
READ MORE > 7 MUST-DOS AFTER A BIKE CRASH
Beware: Loose handlebars
The French neo-pro suffered a high-speed crash at more than 36 miles per hour when his carbon handlebars suddenly came loose during a time trial at the Tour de Moselle. Roger was in second place at the time of the incident and thankfully escaped injury and returned to action later in the month. Let this be a lesson to always make sure your bars are tightened to spec before you ride!
Beware: Fast descent
A horrific crash during the Giro dell’Emilia in Italy put an early end to Chaves’ season. The Orica-Scott rider hit the pavement during a descent, losing control of his front wheel in a corner. Chaves suffered a fractured shoulder blade, which forced him to miss Il Lombardia — a title he claimed in 2016.