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After the Fall: A Chat With NetApp's Grischa Janorschke

When we last saw Grischa Janorschke, he was headed into the Forest of Arenberg, and a date with an all-too-familiar cycling destiny:

There is a second video as well, making this crash notable for where it happened and the availability of up-close video that shows just how violent and terrifying crashes are.

Prior to this moment, Grischa was having one of those unforgettable days, taking his first start in the legendary Paris-Roubaix and heading straight to the breakaway, for all the world to see.


On the flip, Grischa tells us what happened after that...

Podium Cafe: How are you doing now?

Grischa: I`m still a bit tired, feeling the consequences of my crash and from the operation, but it`s better every new day.

Podium Cafe: What caused the crash? a blowout? Just impact from a bad stone?

Janorschke_medium Grischa: It was simply a flat tire, but it couldn`t happen in a worse moment. We rode special 26mm Roubaix tires and at the first 10 sections I had no problems - it was really bad luck to puncture in this part of the Arenberg section.

Podium Cafe: How fast were you going?

Grischa: It was around 50km/h and on the slightly descending cobblestones it was virtually impossible to avoid crashing. 500meters further away the Arenberg starts to go slightly uphill and at 35 or 40km/h it`s no problem to handle the flat tire, stay on the bike and slow down, but at 50 km/h i had no chance...

Podium Cafe: Was that your voice on the video shouting? Either way, it must have been a scary moment knowing you were about to crash.

Grischa: Yes, that´s my voice. Right after the crash there was no feeling in the most parts of my body at the right side, i don`t know why exactly, but i think it`s a kind of a protective function of the body. After a few moments the feeling come back and also the pains came. Then the next step was to leave the cobblestones and to crawl behind the fence, because the field was coming. Especially when i had to move my arm and my hip i felt a lot of pain. When you really think first about crashing, then you still hit the ground - it happens so fast.

Podium Cafe: Did you hit the fence hard too?

Grischa: I don`t know, maybe a bit. The most energy went on the stones...

Podium Cafe: Up until then, can you describe the experience of your first Paris-Roubaix? Being in the break must have been exciting.

Grischa: It was also my first World Tour race ever and with the fact that I was on the start line of Paris-Roubaix, a little personal dream comes true. Just to be there was a little success, because of the broken collarbone, which was operated exactly 4 weeks before. I was working really hard and sometimes under pain to get in shape for the race. Then to be in the group was something really special, at the beginning I was thinking that I get something of a reward for all the efforts before and a few kilometers after that i was thrown to the ground again - unbelievable!

Podium Cafe: Have you ridden in this area much before? On your palmares I don't see U23 Paris-Roubaix or other indications.

Grischa: I had never ridden a race in this area. It`s my first year with NetApp and the Continental Teams, before I had never participated at the U23-version.

Podium Cafe: What kind of coaching or advice did you get to prepare for things like the Trouee d'Arenberg?

Grischa: Like all teams we did a recon-ride on the race route and I also rode the meters where I crashed, but not with that speed, because the Arenberg is closed the whole year and the barrier is only open for the race. But in general I can handle cobblestones well, because in a lot of the Belgium & Netherlands races, which i do a lot, there are also sections, but not as bad as the "real" sections in Paris-Roubaix.

Podium Cafe: What is coming next for you? Where are your big race targets this season?

Grischa: The next weeks are determined from the recovery process and there is still a first race & target in my head, the Bayern-Rundfahrt, which goes through my area, where i live. When I`m there in good shape i think I can get a good race schedule from my team for the second half of the season.

Podium Cafe: How did you hear about the video? And what did you think of it, did the speed surprise you?

Grischa: There are a few videos about the crash and friends sent me the links. The speed didn`t surprise me, but it`s strange, I never said that I never would jump out of a car at 50km/h, but falling from the bike at the same speed is the same and for an pro cyclist anyway a "normal" thing...crashes are part of cycling.


Yes that's normal for cyclists... and no, cyclists are not normal. One more tidbit, Grischa crashed in the Ronde van Drenthe a month ago and broke his collarbone. The doctors put nine screws and a plate in his right shoulder. When that bone got jarred in the latest crash, the steel held up better than the bone previously had. So all he got for his troubles Sunday are some fractures in his elbow, plus the usual scrapes and bruises. Grischa sent along the x-ray proof:



After! And still hanging in there now:


Steel plate FTW!

Heal up Grischa, and we will see you in Bayern!

Photos by Fotoreporter Sirotti, except the x-ray, which presumably is by Grischa's doctors.