Cyclist falls off bike, avoids injury with incredibly graceful 40-foot slide at a race in Switzerland

TGIF! might be what’s going through one cyclist’s mind today after he avoided disaster in a fall at the Tour of Switzerland.

On Thursday’s stage six, Czech rider Zdeněk Štybar slid out on a rain-slick road near the finish — then he went into an epic slide right at the head of the peloton for a good 40 feet or so:

His teammate Julien Vermote also went down, as did a few other riders.

All got up and continued the race, but several riders lost a bunch of time. “Vermote has abrasions on the right side of his body, while Štybar also has a few small abrasions,” their Etixx-Quick-Step team said.

Štybar is one of the best bike handlers in cycling. He’s a former BMX world champion and a former cyclocross world champion, and since he’s dedicated himself to road racing, he’s racked up big wins and was runner-up at the cobbled classic Paris-Roubaix this spring.

Some riders complained about the tricky finish, which would have been technical with its many turns even in dry conditions. A representative from one team criticised the finale too (via CyclingWeekly): 

“The stage was long, very wet, and especially dangerous in the finale. I don’t understand the attraction of having that type of final kilometer which must be delicately negotiated,” he said on the team website.

On Wednesday, Olympic medalist Lizzie Armitstead crashed hard after winning stage one of the Aviva tour in the UK and then a moment later ran into photographers after the finish line.

Also this week, on Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump criticised Secretary of State John Kerry for cycling at age 72.

Kerry suffered a leg fracture after crashing while riding his bike in France a month ago.

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