Cyclist Luca Wackermann out of Giro d’Italia with broken back after freak helicopter accident causes crash

Italian Luca Wackermann was forced to withdraw from the Giro d’Italia with multiple injuries following a big crash in Tuesday’s fourth stage caused by a low flying helicopter.

The crash, which brought down Wackermann and Dutchman Etienne van Empel of the Vini Zabu-KTM team, happened at the end of the stage when a barrier was blown over by the draft from the helicopter and struck the two riders.

A statement from the Italian team said Wackermann, 28, had suffered concussion due to a head injury, as well as a fracture of the nasal bones, multiple contusions to the face, on the chin and on the right knee.

He also sustained multiple bruises to his arms and legs and a suspected back fracture.

“Wackermann will spend the night in the hospital kept under observation and losing that chance to live a dream vanished because of an episode that could have brought some heavier consequences,” added the statement.

Van Empel released a statement on social media: “I am okay. Only some small cuts on my fingers.

“Not really sure what happened but out of nowhere the barriers flew into our group.

“For now my thought are with my teammate Luca and hope some good news will arrive soon.”

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