Concussion and fractures: position on time trial bike could be the cause again
Stefan Küng suffered a spectacular crash during the individual time trial of the European Cycling Championships that are taking place these days in the Dutch province of Drente. The Swiss rider crashed in an inexplicable way against the fences that delimited the route and rekindled the controversy about the danger of the current time trial bikes.
Stefan Küng suffers a serious crash in the European Championships time trial
The quest for maximum aerodynamics is leading cyclists to adopt positions that increasingly seek to hide the head from the wind so that, facing the airflow, helmet and back form a unit over which the wind flows smoothly. This has led biomechanics and aerodynamics experts to look for increasingly tucked-in positions in which the head is practically tucked between the arms.
Behind this radical position seems to be the hard crash suffered in the time trial of the European Championships by the Swiss Sterfan Küng in the final stretch of the race when he was fighting for podium positions in a race in which the young British pearl Joshua Tarling swept the field.
Küng covered a very fast flat section in which his speed was around 60 km/h when, suddenly, he began to get closer and closer to the fences on his left side until the bike got caught and he suffered a huge crash. He managed to get up, get back on the bike and, with his helmet shattered and his face completely bloodied, he made it to the finish line, although he was already out of any chance of a medal.
After undergoing the pertinent medical examination, Küng was diagnosed with a concussion and fractures in the wrist and in the malar bone of the face, the cheekbone. In fact, already with the dantesque image shown on television, many were those who criticized the attitude of the referee judges for letting him continue with the broken helmet or for not applying the concussion detection protocol.
This crash has brought back to the forefront the problem of the danger of the current time trial bikes and that some riders like Chris Froome or Tom Pidcock had already criticized. In fact, we cannot forget the very serious crash suffered by Egan Bernal while training on his TT during last year's preseason, which almost cost him his life, or, more recently, the accident suffered by Caja Rural-Seguros RGA rider Sergio Martín, who fractured several vertebrae and is now confined to a wheelchair, with no mobility in his lower limbs.
Obviously, criticism of the International Cycling Union has not been long in coming, with many accusing the sport's highest body of being more concerned with controlling the height of socks than with regulating truly dangerous aspects. The position on time trial bikes, which requires you to keep your eyes between your arms in order to be as aerodynamic as possible, has been postulated as one of those aspects on which regulation is urgently needed.