Yesterday’s Stage 6 of the Tour de France produced some spills and thrills with the wet roads and poor conditions. There were lots of crashes – a common sight in the Tour – due to slippery roads, wind, corners and peloton maneuvers.
Crashes lead to one of two main types of injuries – traumatic injuries, which are sudden and commonly result in a fractured collar bone, fractured wrist, injured knee, or at least a nasty case of road rash.
The other main type of injury is a chronic, or overuse injury. Examples common to cyclists include repetitive strain injuries, Iliotibial Band injuries and shoulder/neck strain.
Cyclists are also at risk of medical issues such as hyponatremia, dehydration and hypo/hyperthermia, depending on the refueling, rehydration and environmental factors during the event.
If a Tour cyclist is injured during the race (anywhere between the start area and the finish area), he can only be treated by the official race medical services. Many times you will see doctors leaning out of the medical car and treating the cyclists while they are still on their bike – bandaging and treating wounds on the move. The cyclist must be behind the peloton during treatment.
If a cyclist is seriously injured, or on a climb or pass, the rider and the medical car must remain stationary during treatment.
Outside the start and finish area, teams have numerous medical personnel to assist with their treatment. The Astana team, which includes Lance Armstong, has 2 physicians and 10 massage therapists, as well as any personal therapists that the riders might have accompanying them as well.
The Garmin-Slipstream team (USA) has 2 physicians, 2 chiropractors, 2 sports physiologists, 1 sports psychologist and several massage therapists.
After each stage the riders are treated by various therapists to help with their recovery and preparation for the following day.
To check out the action from the Tour go to the Tour Website.