Madrid, Aug 30: Belgian cyclist Kris Boeckmans has been placed in an induced coma following a bad crash he suffered during stage 8 of the Vuelta de Espa (Tour of Spain) cycle race.
Boeckmans hit his head badly during one of several falls which marred Saturday's stage. He hit the ground around 50 kilometres from the finish in the city of Murcia in the south-east of the country, Xinhua reported on Sunday.
A statement published by his Lotto-Soudal team confirmed, that the rider, who was taken to hospital in Murcia, had "severe facial trauma" as well as "concussion, three broken ribs and bleeding in his lung".
"The doctors will now keep him in an induced coma for a few days," informed the team.
Meanwhile the Spanish press quoted the official Vuelta doctor, Mikel Martinez, as saying that Boeckmans, "wasn't breathing" directly after the accident, meaning that the rapid intervention of medical staff, who inserted a tube to help the rider's breathing, probably saved his life.
The same crash which left Boeckmans in such bad shape also forced four other riders to abandon the race with one of the pre-race favourites, Tejat van Garderen suffering a broken collarbone, while Dan Martin and Cofidis sprinter, cer Bouhanni also forced to withdraw as a result of their injuries.
The stage was eventually won by Jasper Stuyven, but the Belgian was also forced out of the race when it was discovered he had ridden to victory with a broken wrist that he had suffered in the same accident.
Filly Peter Sagan also abandoned at the end of Saturday's stage as a result of injuries he suffered after being knocked off his bike by an official race motorbike. IANS