After taking a few weeks off following his post-’cross trip to Turkey for the Tour of Antalya, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon – Circus) kicked off his spring road campaign today at the one-day Nokere Koerse race in Belgium.

After over 195km of the 196km course, Van der Poel was riding well and in the group for the final bunch sprint.

Then, disaster struck.

A rider went down just before the final corner at the start of the cobbled finish, causing a ripple of crashes that took down Van der Poel and a number of other riders. After the Dutch rider tumbled once or twice, another rider crashed into him.

Watch footage of the crash via the link in the embed below.

Initially, the crash looked bad for Van der Poel, as he laid on the ground for a while before exiting the course on a stretcher.

Fortunately, Johnny’s okay. Van der Poel’s team issued a statement that said it looks like the Dutch start only suffered some scrapes and bruises, albeit ones that are quite painful.

Nokere Koerse didn’t end as we expected. A nasty crash for Mathieu van der Poel in the final straight line and afterward they took him away with the ambulance to the hospital. Luckily, no fractures have been determined. Only abrasions and bruises. With these circumstances, he will be able to complete his road program as planned.

Van der Poel posted this on his Instagram Story:

2019 Nokere Koerse update. photo: Mathieu van der Poel's Instagram Story

2019 Nokere Koerse update. photo: Mathieu van der Poel’s Instagram Story

The next race on Van der Poel’s schedule is Friday’s Bredene Koksijde Classic, although he is not listed on the current iteration of the start list. If all goes well with his recovery, he is scheduled to race opposite Wout van Aert (Jumbo – Visma) at Gent – Wevelgem on March 31.

Also injured in the crash was Floris Gerts (Tarteletto – Isorex). He went to the hospital for stitches and to address a potential concussion.

Featured image: Elisa Haumesser