Being in the right place at the right time, a dozen or so cyclists, including the frontrunner, were able to escape a massive crash near the finish of Stage 2 in the Tour of Turkey on Monday. Wheels of two cyclists near the lead touched and caused them to fall, resulting in the riders behind them to pile into the downed riders in a massive chain-reaction accident. As a result, the entire roadway became blocked by a tangle of bikes and riders, and a retaining fence fell down. Watch the craziness (a slow-motion replay can be found at the 1:28 mark):
Aidis Kruopis, 26, of Lithuanian managed to avoid the incredible pile-up to win the stage in Antalya, Turkey.
Mark Renshaw (Blanco) was the first man on the ground as he led Théo Bos with 600 meters to go. The Australian broke a collarbone, as did Belgium’s Jonas van Genechten who was pulling for [Andre] Greipel, while Bos sustained lacerations to the skin on his elbow and a [bruise] on his left hamstring.
“I saw a lot of riders around me falling down,” Kruopis said, describing the scene. “It’s very sad. But I managed to pass the guys. There were five guys before me and I started sprinting. I caught every one of them then I caught the last one [Marco Coledan].
The able riders involved in the crash slowly began picking up their bikes and squeezing by the wreckage to continue on to the finish line. Some cyclists by-passed the wreckage by riding on the grass.
In the end, Germany’s Andre Greipel became the overall race leader, but just barely.
“The crash just happened in front of me,” Greipel said afterward. “I don’t know exactly how I managed to stay on my bike with the feet out of the pedals, but I just kept going. I was in a good position after the last corner. If it was a normal sprint, I would have had good chances of winning.”
As it was, he was lucky to finish the stage.