Thijs Zonneveld's debut in the gravel race Unbound ended in tragedy last Saturday. The Dutch cyclist of BEAT Cycling crashed hard, resulting in a pretty violent picture of his battered knee. The damage turned out to be significant.
Through his Twitter account, Zonneveld had been keeping his followers updated on his journey towards Unbound throughout the past week. The grueling gravel classic started early for the cycling journalist. "D-Day. No excuses. It won't be their fault. Top team," he tweeted in the American morning. Four hours later, less favorable news came in. "Game over," the message read, accompanied by a shocking photo of his knee, which was completely shredded. "I'm going to the hospital now for stitches and to make sure my kneecap isn't broken."
Shortly after, the Amsterdam-based cyclist posted a story on Instagram, where he shared his account of the crash: "In the spirit of participatory journalism. It's fun when things go well, but also when they go bad... I crashed hard, somersaulted, in a descent on top of rocks. My knee is screwed. It definitely needs stitches, and I hope my kneecap isn't broken," after which he showed his injured knee. Later in an American hospital, the extent of the damage was assessed: torn knee ligament. Zonneveld was fitted with a knee brace and the wound was stitched up.
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Zonneveld will be occupied with nasty knee injury for months (warning: footage may be disturbing)
On Sunday, Zonneveld shared his story on the In Het Wiel podcast of AD (a Dutch newspaper). "My knee was like a volcano, the edges were elevated, and there was a hole in it," he described. "I could see the bone when I looked inside, so I knew I had a problem. The big question now is whether my knee ligament is completely torn or partially torn. They will determine that in the Netherlands soon. I'm flying back on Monday, with my leg elevated in business class, and when I arrive in the Netherlands, a taxi will be waiting for me. Either way, it will keep me occupied for a few months."
In a video lasting over six minutes, we also see the events of Saturday unfold for the Dutch cyclist. We witness him having breakfast at 3 a.m. in the American morning and setting off in the dark for the grueling journey. Suddenly, he finds himself in an ambulance. "When I came out of the slipstream of the riders in front of me, I crashed into a sharp rock that I hadn't seen."