Aug 30, 2015 – Belgian rider Kris Boeckmans has been placed in an induced coma after being one of a number of riders badly injured in a crash-riden stage eight of Spain’s Vuelta, his Lotto Soudal team confirmed.

AFP/Yuzuru Sunada

“The 28-year-old rider has a severe facial trauma with several fractures, he’ll probably need surgery,” Lotto Soudal said in a statement. “Boeckmans also has a concussion, three broken ribs and had a bleeding in his lung.

The doctors will now keep him in an induced coma for a few days.” Boeckmans was caught in a major pile-up around 50 kilometers from the finish which also saw Ireland’s Dan Martin, American rider Tejay van Garderen and France’s Nacer Bouhanni forced to withdraw from the race.

“The Belgian was operated on last night at the Virgen de la Arrixaca hospital in Murcia. He is stable and the doctors will evaluate the option of bringing him out of the induced coma tomorrow,” race organizers said on Sunday.

“I was riding just behind him when it happened,” said his Lotto Soudal teammate Tosh Van der Sande. “He was drinking when he rode over a hole, tumbled over his handlebar and hit the ground very hard.”

Jasper Stuyven went on to win the stage despite also suffering a broken bone in his wrist in the crash. Stage three winner Peter Sagan was also injured after being hit by an auxiliary motorcycle on a chaotic day with his Tinkoff-Saxo team threatening to take legal action against the parties involved. The race continues on Sunday with a 168.3km ride from Torrevieja to Cumbre del Sol, Benitatxell.