[CR]Do you ride with a helmet?

Example: Bike Shops:R.E.W. Reynolds
Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2003 09:39:03 -0400 (EDT)
From: <wheelman@nac.net>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: [CR]Do you ride with a helmet?

>From Velo News A violent high-speed crash at Fitchburg may have cost Aussie Henk Vogels his season, but he was miraculously spared something for more precious to him and to his family - his life. Early on in stage 3, Vogels and Navigators teammate Jeff Louder broke clear of the field to help drive a small breakaway group. As the group neared the bottom of the long, fast descent down Wachusett Mountain, they were nearly caught by the peloton when Vogels apparently glanced behind him to assess their lead and clipped his wheel with another rider, sending him flying head first into the guardrail, shattering his helmet and fracturing his C-7 vertebrae. Following in a team car, Navigators' general manager Ray Cipollini was quick to arrive on the scene. "When I first stopped he wasn't even moving," Cipollini said. "It wasn't until a few seconds later that he said that he was in fact in pain, and was cognizant of that fact. Even with all the blood loss, he was still complaining about the pain, which was a good sign. I've been in the sport for a long time, and it was one of the worst crashes I've ever seen." Navigators' directeur sportif Ed Beamon was also racing, and pulled off as he passed emergency workers attending to a bloody and unconscious Vogels, who was immediately rushed to the University of Massachusetts hospital where it was determined that he had also shattered his ankle in three places. "This is a good story about the importance of helmets," Beamon said. "I spoke with a police officer that had a radar gun on the riders on that descent, and he said they were coming in close to 65 mph. Henk's doctor said that, without question, the helmet saved his life. From what the [breakaway riders] were telling me, it was probably the most violent crash any of them had ever seen." The crushing impact of Vogels' Limar helmet was so severe that it actually impacted into his head, causing severe lacerations that required stitches and staples to close. After the peloton had passed the wreckage, word initially trickled through the pack that Vogels was not responding, and for a brief period, the worst was feared, causing racing to temporarily come to a halt. "The peloton pretty much stopped at the bottom of the hill and waited for word before they got back to racing," Beamon said. "Something like that really takes the wind out your sails, and it unnerved the guys a bit." One of the most respected members of the domestic peloton, Vogels has amassed an impressive race resume that includes two top-ten finishes at Paris-Roubaix (1997-98), a fourth-place stage finish at the 1999 Tour de France and a second-place at this year's Ghent-Wevelgem - as well as the overall victory at Fitchburg in 2000. "If there was ever any doubt as to whether or not a helmet works, there is no doubt," Cipollini said. "All our guys wear a helmet everywhere they race. I saw the French riders were protesting wearing helmets at their national championship, and I'd like to show them a photograph of Henk's bloody, shattered helmet. You can actually see the imprints of the guard rail on his helmet." Beamon explained that while the initial prognosis is that Vogels is expected to make a full recovery, he might be wearing a neck brace for as long as 12 weeks. "But knowing Henk," Beamon added, "It wouldn't surprise me if we saw him doing some early season Aussie races."

Ray Homiski
Elizabeth, NJ