“Tomorrow we will make sure we take care of each other, and we take it from there.”
– sport director Juanma Garate
and Rigoberto Urán were forced to abandon the Vuelta a España during Thursday’s stage six after a large crash that involved multiple teams. Hugh Carthy and Sergio Higuita were also involved in the crash, though were both able to continue. Logan Owen
Urán and Carthy abandoned the race immediately after the crash and were taken to Hospital General Universitari de Castelló for treatment. Both riders have suffered broken left clavicles and will undergo surgery in the coming days.
“Hugh has broken his left collarbone and will need surgery to repair it. Rigo has also broken his left collarbone, just past the plate that was placed on the bone from the break he suffered in March [at Paris-Nice]. He has also broken his shoulder blade in several places,” said Rick Morgan, the team’s doctor at the Vuelta.
“This has really not been a great day for the team,” EF Education First Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters plainly stated. “Now the most important thing is that we focus on making sure Rigo and Hugh and the rest of the team are healthy. And we refocus the guys still racing on other objectives.”
The hard luck continued as , who was in the day’s break, later crashed on a descent. The impact to the team as a whole is profound: Owen needed five stitches in his right leg; Higuita has pain in his lower back after his fall; van Garderen suffered heavy road rash on his right side and has significant pain in one of his fingers. Tejay van Garderen
It’s anticipated that Owen and Higuita will continue. Van Garderen, meanwhile, will be assessed in the morning before a decision is made on his continuation. The only riders on the team unscathed Thursday were , Mitch DockerDani Martinez, and . Lawson Craddock
“We’re going to continue on, but we need a bit of time to recuperate,” said director Juanma Garate. “The moment when Tejay fell I said to the team, ‘Ok guys, to do this we have to do it as a team and we take strength from each other,’ and that’s what we’re going to do. It was a moment that can really demotivate everyone, but they continued on and kept their minds on what they were doing, and they did their best. Tomorrow we will make sure we take care of each other and we take it from there.”
Urán took the view of a rider who’s been in the situation before.
“Today we’ve had a really tough day, there was a crash on a descent on a corner, and there were a number of riders who went down, there was no possibility to avoid the crash,” Urán said. “Us riders, we are used to having these crashes so we know what it takes to recuperate from them. There’s no other option, we just have to take some time out and recover to then come back. I’ve learned a lot about this, each time you learn a bit more, you go out there hoping not to crash or at least to not break anything.”
Carthy wished the rest of his team luck in Spain.
“If I look at the work we’ve done this week, we can be happy. The team now can look forward and continue racing. I wish them luck” said Carthy. “I’m all OK – nothing too serious. Could have been a lot worse. I’m thankful for the help from the team and the hospital. I’m looking forward to recovery now.”