It’s been just over two weeks since Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwfit and the mid-race mass crash that would have a decisive effect on the end result, and only now is one of the crash victims, Sanne Cant, getting back on her bike.
The Belgian, who races for Fenix-Deceuninck, was the most heavily affected rider in the pileup on the Pont-Thibault à Ennevelin cobbled sector. As other riders in the elite chase group got to their feet and back on the bike, Cant was left sitting on the cobbles clutching her face.
The 32-year-old had suffered severe wounds to her forehead and under her eye and was rushed from the race to Lille hospital. Later that Saturday she was transferred to Herentals hospital, where she received 60 stitches to her face.
Now, Cant is back on her bike with light bandaging on her face. She told Sporza (opens in new tab) that she was “extremely lucky” that her eye, and thus her future in cycling, wasn’t affected.
“The wounds were both 5mm away from my eye. For all we know, I might have had to stop cycling because of an eye injury,” Cant said.
“The surgeon placed the stitches carefully and close together, so it wasn’t that bad, fortunately. I could have been done with cycling for the rest of my life, so in that light, I didn’t mind doing nothing for two weeks.
“I’m happy and relieved that my career is not over and that I can show myself again in Roubaix next year.”
Cant is the veteran on a young Fenix-Deceuninck team which ascended to the Women’s WorldTour for this season. The three-time world cyclocross champion led her team at Roubaix, but her crash didn’t spell the end of their hopes of a result, with Marthe Truyen persevering in the victorious breakaway to take a career-making third place.
As for Cant, who was away from Roubaix having her injuries treated at the time, she said that a rest period from racing had been scheduled after Roubaix in any case and joked that her time off the bike had involved more bandaging than she had planned for.
“We had planned a rest period anyway,” she said. “So, in that respect, it worked out nicely. Of course, a crash never works out, but my preparation for the summer won’t be disrupted.
“I spent 14 days at home with a bit more bandaging around my head than was planned. That’s part of racing, I guess.
“I haven’t had any real pain, but when I look in the mirror, I keep hoping it will all go away. At the moment, I’m cheering myself up by the fact that it could have been much worse.”
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