Cannondale-Drapac communications director Matthew Beaudin penned a column for Bicycling on the aftermath of Toms Skujins crashed. Beaudin explains what happened internally from the moment Skujins crashed until the moment sport director Tom Southam was able to pull the Latvian off his bike.
Watching from home, it’s hard to imagine that you, the fan, has more information that someone within the race; yet, this is often the case. Beaudin explains why — and how a collective effort ensures critical information gets to those that need it most.
I watched on my phone as Toms Skujins put his hands out, trying to steady himself against the cement waves of a concussion he had no idea were hitting him. I saw him try to cross the street, try to get back on his bike, try to ride, try to not hit the curb. Kid just kept trying.
It was one of those moments in which you just keep saying “no” aloud.
At the finish line above San Jose, there were hundreds of people saying “no,” too. If he were a boxer, the fight would have been stopped. If he were an NFL player, he’d have been yanked. Those moments passed in single slides; each one that clicked by was more terrible and slower than the next. Nothing could happen fast enough.
“Hey Toms looks real bad,” I texted to Jonathan Vaughters, our team boss, as Toms staggered in the road.
“What happened?” he wrote.
“Ah shit,” he fired back.
If you work for a team, if you care about the person on the road, if you have eyes and a heart that beat, you would have taken in images like these and felt yourself coming apart a little, or a lot. When I saw Toms was put back on his bike, I wasn’t actually wondering why, because in the moment it didn’t matter: We just had to get him back off as soon as possible. It wasn’t a singular responsibility, but a collective one. Even so, a current of helplessness moved through us all.