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“If I was not wearing a helmet, I don't know if I would still be here”: Ineos rider Thymen Arensman thanks helmet after brutal crash ruling him out of Vuelta a España

The Dutch cyclist suffered a late crash in the race, said he woke up in the hospital and couldn't remember what happened and was "unbelievably lucky" ...

The Vuelta a España this year hasn't been very kind to its riders — the latest victim of the Spanish Grand Tour yesterday was Ineos Grenadiers' Thymen Arensman, who suffered a brutal crash in the later stages of yesterday's stage seven, and has now been forced to abandon the race.

He attributed his coming out of the crash safely to his helmet and his luck, with thankfully no broken bones, but a few stitches to his face and a missing tooth.

Arensman wrote: "I am unbelievably lucky, I think. Apart from a bit of pain everywhere, my head hurts and missing a tooth it looks like nothing broken, so far.

"I can’t remember anything from what happened and woke up in the hospital, I must have been out for a few hours."

With only 5 kilometres to go in yesterday's flat stage at the Vuelta, the crash was most likely instigated by an unfortunate of coming together of the wheels of two Alpecin-Deceuninck's teammates, Jimmy Janssens and the points leader and Aussie sprint sensation Kaden Groves.

As Janssen went down, with two more riders from Groupama-FDJ going down with him, Arensman was also caught in it, with the 23-year-old rider from Netherlands seemingly catching the short end of the stick and concerningly staying down on the ground as everyone hastily called for emergency services.

> Jumbo-Visma to wear helmets with “healthy brains” at Paris-Roubaix to encourage helmet wearing

Despite the harrowing nature of the crash and the scary aftermath, Arensman was jovial and uplifted in his post. "I am not my most handsome self anymore with stitches and injuries to my face + missing a tooth, but I’ll take it. Probably my helmet saved my life"

Team Ineos Grenadiers informed this morning that Arensman would be heading back to the Netherlands with his girlfriend.

He said: "It was quite scary, I was out for a few hours. I think I am super lucky I didn't break anything. I am missing a teeth, my neck hurts while I'm wearing this beautiful thing — my eye and my stitches — actually hurts everywhere a bit, my whole body, my knees, everything.

"I think I'm super lucky because it could have really bad. My head also hurts a little bit so I'm going to take it easy now. I think if I was not wearing a helmet I don't know if I would still be here. So I can really thank the helmet for that."

> Why is Dan Walker’s claim that a bike helmet saved his life so controversial?

He added that "everything was quite alright" and he was "relatively okay", and he would be cheering for his teammates while trying to recover to full health.

The day was a slow burner for the Grenadiers, with a two man break never more than a handful of minutes up the road. 

The team's principal GC contender Geraint Thomas unfortunately crashed before the TV broadcast began, but was quickly back on his bike and in the peloton. The concern for the team, besides its riders' wellbeing, would be that the Welshman was already 2:30 behind the rest of the favourites in the GC after losing an additional 24 seconds yesterday.

Geraint Thomas, stage 7 Vuelta 2023 (@Cxcling Creative Agency)

Geraint Thomas, stage 7 Vuelta 2023 (@Cxcling Creative Agency)

Arensman became the second Ineos rider to be forced to leave after a crash in what has been a difficult first week for the British team. His Belgian teammate Laurens De Plus suffered a broken hip after going down in the rain-soaked team time trial marred by poor visibility in stage one in Barcelona, and had to abandon as well.

> “Think!” – Ineos Grenadiers rider Laurens De Plus sends safety message to drivers after he is knocked off bike

There was another crash towards the end of the race, with Jumbo-Visma's GC contender-slash-domestique Sepp Kuss getting caught in it, but the American was thankfully quickly back in the peloton.

The flat stage was a perfect day for sprinters after the vicious climb at the astronomical observatory in Javalambre. However, The sprint wasn't any less chaotic either, without the big name sprinters and their monster lead outs it became a free-for-all, Geoffrey Soupe taking a surprise win for TotalEnergies ahead of Caja Rural's Orluis Aular.

Adwitiya joined in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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David9694 | 6 months ago

Helmets can be useful where you take spill yourself or with other cyclists - as soon as there's 2 tonne of car / van involved, not so very much.

It's a good job this didn't happen in the UK - most police forces would decide that if he doesn't remember the crash, clearly it didn't happen. 

EDIT or we could talk about things that actually do save lives:

cyclisto replied to David9694 | 6 months ago
1 like

I believe that no one expects to be run over by a 2 tonne car and survive thanks to his helmet. But when you fall alone (I have fallen a few times on tight or slippery curves) or forced to fall by a too close pass or maybe contact it makes some use.

eburtthebike | 6 months ago

Oh please, not another "helmet saved my life" story.angel

If only those damn stubborn statistics would show that the death rate of cyclists fell as helmet wearing rates increased those stories might have some credibility.

Benthic | 6 months ago

"...woke up in the hospital, I must have been out for a few hours."

Helmet didn't work then. 

mark1a | 6 months ago



ROOTminus1 replied to mark1a | 6 months ago

Hot take: Maybe more by chance than judgement, his statement is not wrong.
Yes, it is fuel for the plastic hat debate, but his specific wording isn't categorically saying "I'd be dead without it". Did it mitigate his injuries? Certainly! To the extent he'd be toast without one? Debatable.
He said he "wouldn't know if he'd still be here" without the helmet and that is plausible. Might not be dead, but can't reason your existence if you're in a medically induced coma.

Blue touch paper lit; I'm off to a safe distance

AidanR replied to ROOTminus1 | 6 months ago

I agree - he was knocked unconscious for several hours, so there is a reasonable chance that the helmet did just enough to avoid tragedy.

chrisonabike replied to mark1a | 6 months ago
1 like

Top comment!

...although actually - are you on a fishing trip here?  I note that this chap does not appear to be wearing a personal flotation device nor a tether / lifeline.  If it saves one life!

mark1a replied to chrisonabike | 6 months ago
1 like

No, not me! I just thought leading with the helmet aspect of the story in the headline was definitely "chumming the water" for arguments engagement. 

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