When helmets save lifes: Zakarin escapes with ‘only’ a collarbone injury after terrible crash

Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) left Stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia in an ambulance after a serious tumble left onlookers fearing for the worst.

Zakarin, who was sitting in fifth overall, crashed out in the dramatic 162km stage from Pinerolo to Risoul, two days before the Giro ends in Turin.

The 26-year-old Katusha rider came off in a turn on the long descent off the Coll dell’Agnello. He was sitting four minutes and 50 seconds behind Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo), who later crashed on the same descent and lost his pink leader’s jersey. While Kruijswick managed to complete the stage with a fractured rib, for Zakarin the Giro is over.

The crash immediately looked very serious as Zakarin lay on the ground separated far from his bike and the peloton. After a while he was able to move, indicating that he was conscious, much to everyone’s relief.

He left the ambulance and went straight to hospital. The team later confirmed he has a fracture of the left collarbone and of the left scapula, but feels OK in general given the force of the crash.

“It is a very sad day for us, but we hope for a quick recovery from Ilnur,” said Katusha general manager Viatcheslav Ekimov. “Tomorrow he flies to Munchen to the Orthopädie- Zentrum Rosenhem where on Monday doctor Oliver J. Braunsperger will do a surgery. All the team wish Ilnur to get well soon.”

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“The expected battlefield stage kept its promises. It was hectic and there was a lot of bad luck. In the end Kruijswijk and Zakarin are still ‘healthy’ and that’s maybe even more important,” said Katusha in a press release after the crash-marred stage.

“I want to thank everyone for support and warm greetings,” said Zakarin. “I am OK if it’s possible to say that in this situation. I hope my recovery will go fast.”

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