Australia's Ben Hill hospitalised following Tour of Hainan crash
General classification specialist Benjamin Hill could spend up to three weeks in hospital after fracturing vertebrae in penultimate stage crash in China.
Attaque Team Gusto rider Hill was admitted to a Chinese hospital in Sanya where he is recovering from substantial injuries sustained during a crash on the eighth stage at the Tour of Hainan on Saturday.
The 27-year-old found himself in a ravine with two fractured vertebrae and several lacerations to his mouth mid-way through the penutlimate stage. It is a devastating blow to the Hill, who is fresh off a top 10 result (seventh) at Japan Cup in October, and spent the better part of a week animating the race and contending for general classification in Hainan, climbing as high as fourth on Stage 3.
“Second major descent and Ben had broken away with three other guys and they were trying to catch the front group,” Team owner Peter Shandon told Eurosport Saturday night. “They started out at about three minutes down and were making good headway … they just came around the corner, it was quite slippery and Ben just went literally straight — didn’t try to correct his line — straight over the big viaduct and straight into a ravine.”
Attaque Team Gusto will cease to exist following the race, so Hill was eagerly drawing interest from several other UCI Continental teams on the Hainan startlist after his impressive showing in the early stages.
Hill had already garnered top results this year, most significantly a fourth on GC at Le Tour de Filipinas (2.2) and an overall win at Tour de Tochigi (2.2) in Japan. Earlier in the season, he also finished fourth on a stage at the Herald Sun Tour (2.1) in Australia.
“We’ve had the medical report translated, and he has a bruised lung which is going to prohibit him from flying and definitely confirmed he has two fractured vertebrae — No. 6 and No. 8 — so he is in the hospital and can’t fly for up to three weeks.
“We are trying to move him today to a private facility,” he continued. “The doctors are saying he should probably only have to stay in hospital for about 10 days and then they will move him to a hotel.”
Shandon says the team is reaching out too both Hill’s family and team sponsors to assure he is well looked after during his extended stay and recovery in China.
“We are contacting his fiancée now, so the best-case scenario is that she has the time and availably to come across,” said Shandon. “Other than that, our sponsors Gusto have connections with the race organizers. They are Chinese so they will make sure that Ben has support while he is in Hainan at least.”