Exposed metal traffic bollard responsible for Steven Kruijswijk’s crash

A pole in the final 2.5 kilometres of the Vuelta a España’s fifth stage in Lugo caused Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) to crash. He abandoned the race and end his season with a broken left collarbone.

“I crashed heavily into that pole,” said Kruijswijk. “It’s terrible that I have to leave this race because of an object that shouldn’t have been there. I’m going home immediately tomorrow. This was, after the Giro d’Italia, my second big target and I’m really fed up about the way I’m leaving this Vuelta.”

“It didn’t go the way we wanted in this race,” Sports Director Addy Engels said. “The first summit finish already was a disappointment. It went a little bit better yesterday and we were positive about the possibility that Steven Kruijswijk would have been able to reach his top level during this Vuelta.

“This crash is an enormous setback. Steven’s general classification was the team’s main target in this race. Now, we have to change plans. We only covered five stages so far, so we need some time to get used to this scenario. We definitely will have some chances, because we’re here with a strong team.”

In another stage race last year, the Tour of the Basque Country, a similar pole left on the side of the road at 400 metres out caused Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) and Peter Stetina (then with BMC) to crash and fracture bones. Stetina suffered worse, he broke his right tibia and patella and four ribs. The American said he could have died.

While not at 400 metres, the metre-high pole today was in the final kilometres, where the roads should have been cleared of any unnecessary obstacles. Photos emerged on Twitter of the pole and the crash.