Tour de France Aftermath: Jens Voigt’s ‘Horror-Crash’

[Earlier post: Jens Voigt: ‘I Was Very Lucky‘]

Trying to find updates on the condition of Jens Voigt, the tough German rider who left the Tour after crashing in the Alps, all links seem to lead to German media coverage. And that’s led to the discovery of a German usage I’d never seen before (OK, maybe that’s not surprising: I don’t read German, really, and I don’t spend a lot of time poring over German media). I see Voigt’s crash referred to in Bild and other websites as a “Horror-Sturz” — horror-fall. And as it happens, there have been two gnarly crashes in Formula 1 auto racing lately, both described as “Horror-Crash.” The former example creates a compound by welding an English word onto a German one; the latter forms a compound by smushing two English words together in a way that wouldn’t quite work outside of headlinese. End of linguistic note.

So the latest on Voigt: He’s recovering after his Horror-Sturz. And actually, that’s not a bad term for it. He was descending an alpine road at about 50 mph when he hits a rut or hole in the pavement and instantaneously lost control of the bike. He plunged face first to the road and slid with his bike for a long way. The worst part, for me: when he stopped sliding, he simply lay there. The crash was, indeed, horrifying.

(Earlier, Bild had supplied this tidbit: That Voigt’s wife Stephanie saw the crash on TV while at a birthday party; it also published a brief interview with the wheel-star’s Frau about her initial reaction to the Horror-Sturz. The Google machine translations of those stories, entertaining in their own way, are here and here).

But back to Voigt himself: He continues to recuperate from his injuries, which included a concusssion, shattered cheekbone, and multiple abrasions and lacerations. As all the Bild photos show–the pictures are uniformly gruesome–he is much the worse for his head-on meeting with the pavement. According to a Bild story over the weekend (translation), he doesn’t have a clear memory of the crash and has no fear of returning to racing. He’s already declared his intention to ride in next year’s Tour. Here’s one quote:

Seinen Sturz sah er später im Krankenbett im Fernsehen: „Ich bin noch nicht ganz klar im Kopf. Es ist schon komisch. Ich sehe den Sturz, wie das Rad Funken sprüht, aber es berührt mich nicht, weil ich keine Erinnerung daran habe. Ich habe deshalb auch keine Angst, wieder aufs Rad zu steigen. Vielleicht mache ich das noch in diesem Jahr.”

(“He saw his fall later on television from his hospital bed. ‘I’m not entirely clear in my head. It’s funny. I see the fall, how the wheel sprayed sparks. But it doesn’t bother me because I have no memory of it. So I also have no fear about climbing back on the bike. Maybe I’ll do it later this year.’ “)

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