Fabian Cancellara, Olympic cycling champ, wipes out in road race after wrong turn

Greg Wyshynski
Fourth-Place Medal

LONDON — The most unpredictable and dramatic event of the young London Olympics was the men's cycling road race, in which Kazakhstan's Alexandr Vinokourov won gold, Great Britain's medal hope Mark Cavendish missed the podium and Swiss cyclist Fabian Cancellara had a spectacular crash that put his gold-medal defense in the time trial in jeopardy.

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(Too bad the urban legend of Cancellara's motor-bike wasn't true; he could have flown over the barrier, E.T. style.)

Cancellara led a pack of 32 racers with about 15 km left in the 250 km event. He rounded a right turn, but failed to complete it. Instead, his bike wobbled into the safety barriers near the spectators, crashing front-wheel-first. Cancellara's head hit the barrier in the crash.

Here's what the crash sounded like on BBC.

Cancellara returned to his bike and started racing again with a clearly injured right arm — a gash bled near his elbow.

The RadioShack-Nissan team cycling Twitter feed reported that "Fabian Cancellara headed to the hospital for an X-ray scan of his right shoulder." The Swiss cyclist wept on television after the race was completed.

Cancellara, 31, is a four-time world time trial champion and Beijing gold medalist. His medal defense in the time trial is scheduled for Wednesday.

He recently surprised the cycling world when he pulled out of the Tour de France in the 11th stage for the birth of his second child, saying: "I am not only a bike rider, I am also a husband and father with another baby on the way."

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Cue the speculation about his mental state and preparedness, like this from Bike Radar before the race: "What if Fabian Cancellara's home commitments have disrupted his build-up to the Games?"

h/t @jorge_magister for the image.

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