André Greipel of Team Columbia will miss up to three months of training as a consequence of injuries suffered in a crash during Thursday's Stage 3 of the Tour Down Under. Greipel collided at high speed with a motor bike. Friday, the 26 year old sprinter will return home to Germany, where he will undergo surgery for a dislocated shoulder. The German sprinter also suffered deep cuts to his right elbow and left knuckles.
According to Greipel, the motorbike simply came out of nowhere. "At the beginning of the race, I was with around 30 riders going fast. Suddenly, where there was nothing, there stood a motorbike. Then, everything went too fast. A head-on collision at almost 60 km/hr," recounted Greipel on his blog. A nearby rider saw him fly through the air. Allan Davis and four other riders also crashed. Davis proved able to finish the stage, and should be able to continue the race.
Team Columbia DS Alan Peiper blamed the heavy crosswinds for the incident. "The race was fast and there were strong crosswinds, so a split opened up in the field," explained Pieper to radsport-news.com. "André fell behind and could not see what was happening in front. Because the race was so fast, no one in the field warned about the danger as is normal," continued Peiper.
On Friday, Greipel returns to Germany for shoulder surgery. Then, 12 weeks of recovery. "This is obviously frustrating, because my form was really good," Griepel admitted. "At the same time, I am also relieved that nothing worse happened," he said. The young sprinter is not looking forward to the long weeks of recovery, which he expects to be "boring," but he hopes to return with the even more strength and motivation.