As Chattanooga’s traffic returned to a normal workday pace after the US Cycling National Championships, questions among the cycling community began to swirl around the serious crash sustained by race hopeful Taylor Phinney.

Phinney, who won the Saturday US Cycling National Championships Time Trial, went down on this first descent of Lookout Mountain.

, considered to be the bicycle racing publication of record, asked the question that had been rumored after Phinney’s crash: “Was a race vehicle to blame for Taylor Phinney’s broken leg?”

Bicycle racers, in addition to avoiding road hazards and one another, also contend with motorcycles and cars used to provide safe passage for the peloton.

The race commissioners ride in several cars, as do medics, team mechanics and other support functions. Motorcycles also ferry photographers along the race course and provide race information via radio to officials.

VeloNews quoted United Healthcare rider Lucas Euser, who was riding right behind Phinney, when the two racers came upon a race motorcycle as they rounded a sharp left-hand turn on their first descent of Lookout Mountain.

“Euser said the pair had to take evasive action to avoid the race moto, which left Phinney in Chattanooga’s Erlanger Medical Center Monday night.

“We were descending really fast,” Euser told VeloNews at the race finish. “Taylor is an amazing descender and I know that, so I was comfortable coming close to him. He probably had 10 or 20 meters on me.”

As the two came though that turn, they split around the motorcycle, which was said to be “wobbling.”

Euser continued, telling VeloNews
“We came into that left-hander really fast, and [Taylor] caught the lead moto. The moto got these wobbles and it took Taylor on the inside of the corner. And there was nothing he could do. When you go on the inside of that corner that fast, you’re going down.”

In a display of sportsmanship, Euser stayed with Phinney after the crash and as emergency workers stabilized him and assessed his injuries.

Phinney underwent surgery Monday night to repair a broken lower left leg, a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula bones and an injured left knee at Erlanger.

His injuries will prevent Phinney from making his first appearance in this year’s Tour de France, as his BMC team expected him to start.