French pro left with 35 stitches in ear after contact with disc brake

Hugo Hofstetter left with huge cut in ear after dramatic crash at Circuit de la Sarthe, questions safety of disc brakes.

Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images

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Arkéa Samsic sprinter Hugo Hofstetter has been left with 35 stitches in his ear after making contact with a disc brake in a racing crash.

The French pro came down on the wet and wild fourth stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe last week and fell into a wheel leaving him with a cut requiring immediate surgery.

Hofstetter posted an image of the deep gash to his helmet this weekend and resurfaced the long-rumbling debate over the safety of disc brakes in the pro peloton.

“When will there be covers for the discs UCI cycling, I would have avoided 35 stitches in my ear?” he wrote on Twitter.

Disc brakes are now a widely accepted mainstay of top-level racing, with teams typically only reverting to rim systems where weight-saving is seen as essential.

The initial introduction of disc brake technology met with mixed approval in the pro peloton.

Some questioned the propriety of some riders using fast-stopping discs while others were managing the different deceleration offered by rim brakes.

The use of the exposed razor-sharp discs in a sport riddled with crashes was also a major talking point. Both cyclocross veteran Katie Compton and rising road racer Matteo Jorgenson pointed toward discs as the cause of deep cuts they sustained in recent racing crashes.

Hofstetter’s injury is part of what has been an incident-riddled week for Arkéa Samsic.

Nacer Bouhanni was left in hospital after a dramatic crash at the Tour of Turkey on Monday in a stage that also saw both Nairo and Dayer Quintana crashing just 4km from the finish line.

Hofstetter is slated to race Paris-Roubaix this weekend and – should he be fit to start – is one of Andrew Hood’s dark horses for the “Hell of the North.”

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