De Gendt admits causing Paris-Nice crash but forgiven by Skjelmose, Sanchez

 Paris-Nice: Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Dstny) on stage 5

Paris-Nice: Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Dstny) on stage 5

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Dstny) admitted to being at fault in a crash that took out Trek-Segafredo’s overall classification hopeful Mattias Skjelmose on the run-in to the final climb of the Col de la Couillole in Paris-Nice on Saturday.

There were no hard feelings, however, as riders took to social media to show their good will and sportsmanship following De Gendt’s apology.

“I touched the back wheel of [Luis Leon] Sanchez and went down hard,” De Gendt wrote after leaving the race early following the crash. “I’m sorry for the riders I took down with me. It was my fault. I’m waiting to get examined by the doctor. Further update will follow later.”

Soon after De Gendt issued his apology, Skjelmose, who Trek-Segafredo said needed stitches to a gash on his eyebrow, was quick to forgive, replying, “shit happens, hope you are good”.

Sanchez also offered his best wishes after finishing the stage, writing to De Gendt, “I hope it’s nothing, see you soon.”

The crash took De Gendt and Skjelmose out of the race, while Trek’s Julien Bernard and Sanchez finished the stage.

Lotto-Dstny later announced that De Gendt suffered multiple abrasions and would return to Belgium for examinations.

“I forgot how much crashing hurts. Last crash that I can remember was in 2018. Even had to ask our busdriver what others did in the shower to clean the wounds,” De Gendt wrote later.

The crash came just before the start of the 15.7-kilometre climb of the Col de la Couillole.

Trek-Segafredo had hoped to move Skjelmose up from 13th place, 2:06 behind Paris-Nice leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and third in the best young rider standings. Instead, the Dane left the race with multiple abrasions, bruises and a cut to his face, knee and shoulder. There was no sign of a concussion from the hard fall but the team said they would monitor him.

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