Injury Update: Sam Bewley Post Paris-Roubaix Crash

Mon 21 Apr 2014

We have fielded quite a number of crashes about Sam Bewley’s crash at Paris-Roubaix. Bewley was involved in an incident as he made his way through the race caravan that ended his first Paris-Roubaix. He had surgery the following day to fix two fractures in two different bones. Now one week post-operation, Bewley checks in to answer some of the questions you’ve thrown his way via our social media channels.

Q: What happened in the crash? 

I had just had a flat tire, and I was making my way back through the cars as we approached the Arenberg Forest. The team cars had all come to a bit of halt on the right, so I moved up on the left hand side of the road. As I passed on the left, one of the team cars must not have seen me. They pulled out of the line of stopped cars without any warning.

It was a pretty narrow road, and I had nowhere to go. Luckily, I managed to swerve out of the car’s way and jump up on the curb. I thought I was going to make it through but the other side of the curb dropped away into a car-park so that’s when it all went pear shaped.

2. What happened post-crash?

There was still 120 kilometres left in the race, and I expected I would just be taken straight to hospital in the ambulance - which would have been best. Instead, the ambulance continued to follow the race for another three hours behind the last group, so I was in there all the way to the finish.

I figured we had missed the boat on any urgency to get to hospital so when we got to the finish I told the ambulance staff I was going to the bus for fives minutes. I wanted to see my teammates, and I wanted to find out how they had gone in the race. The ambulance then took me to hospital.

3. What’s your official diagnosis and course of action?

I suffered a few superficial facial injuries including a mean looking black eye and some grazes. My ear needed a couple of stitches in the upper lobe. The major injury is two displaced fractures in my hand on two different bones. I had an operation last Tuesday during which they pinned one of the bones and plated and pinned the more serious one.

3 - Unnamed

4. What did the first week post-surgery entailed?

In my experience with injuries and rehab, it’s really important to give yourself a couple of days to feel your emotions. I was upset initially. Then I was angry. Now I am motivated!

I had a few quiet days after the surgery. I tried to stay out of the house, enjoy the sun, and let my body recovery a little. Since then I have done two hikes. A one hour jaunt on Friday and a two hour effort on Saturday. I rode the home trainer for the first time on Sunday. It was just a short and easy ride to check that everything is ready.

Today I plan to rip into the serious stuff. This includes longer and harder ergo sessions, double days, some gym and probably a few more hikes to help keep the fitness and break things up a bit. I feel like an expert at this stuff now...sadly.

5. What do you know about your recovery timeline as of now?

I see the surgeon again on Tuesday, so I’ll get more details then. As of now, the goal is to return to racing at Bayern Rundfahrt at end of May. I will take it day by day with getting back on the road, training like I said above until I feel ready. As soon as I know that my body is ready for it, I will be on the road. I am looking to go and do a couple weeks at altitude once I am up and running again before Bayern.

6. You've been in this position significantly more than I image you would like lately. How do you keep your chin up and stay focused on doing what you need to do to get back on the bike?

It’s not always easy, but like I said earlier if you allow yourself to feel those initial emotions and make them known rather than trying to push them away, it really helps. If you get that stuff out of the way the first few days, then you’re ready to go. At the end of the day, as much as this sucks, it does happen in our sport. I am a professional, and I have to handle this situation as such. It’s all about getting back to work as soon as possible, doing my rehab right, looking after myself and working my butt off to get back to where I need to be.