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Incidence and aetiology of acute injuries during competitive road cycling
  1. Mathieu Decock1,
  2. Lieven De Wilde1,
  3. Luc Vanden Bossche2,
  4. Adelheid Steyaert2,
  5. Alexander Van Tongel1
  1. 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium
  2. 2Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Sports Medicine Centre, Ghent University Hospital, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alexander Van Tongel, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Ghent University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Gent, Belgium; alexander.vantongel{at}


Introduction Despite the ever-increasing popularity of bicycle racing, the high perceived risk of acute injuries and the recent media attention, studies of acute injuries in road cyclists are rather scarce. The goal of this study is to evaluate the incidence, aetiology and patterns of acute injuries in non-professional competitive road cyclists during cycling races in Flanders.

Material and methods All acute injuries that occurred during competition in Flanders in 2002 and 2012, collected in the injury registry, were analysed. The incidence, injury rate, diagnosis, circumstances and level of performance were evaluated.

Results A total of 777 documented reports of accidents (1230 injuries) were retrieved for the years 2002 and 2012. There was no significant difference between incidence and injury rate between 2002 and 2012. There was a strong significant difference in the incidence between the different levels of performance in both seasons. Severe injuries were seen in 29.5% in 2002 and in 30.1% in 2012. The most common location of a severe injury was the hand. Collision with another rider was the most common cause of injury.

Conclusions Almost 1 out of 6 non-professional competitive road cyclists had an accident during cycling races in 2002 and 2012 in Flanders and collision with other riders was the most important cause of a crash. The most common lesion was abrasion, but almost one out of three riders had a severe injury.

  • Cycling
  • Injury
  • Epidemiology
  • Trauma
  • Sporting injuries

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