John Kerry bicycle accident: US Secretary of State cancels European tour after breaking leg on Tour de France route

America’s top diplomat had brought his own bicycle to France to tackle the Col de la Colombière

Click to follow
The Independent US

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, has been forced to cancel the remainder of a European tour after breaking his leg in a cycling accident in France.

Mr Kerry, still a keen cyclist at 71, was setting out to ride a section of the Tour de France route near Scionzier, close to the Swiss border, on Sunday morning when he struck a kerb and fell.

America’s top diplomat, who often cycles during his free time on foreign trips, had brought his own bicycle to France to tackle the Col de la Colombière, a mountain pass that has made up part of the Tour route more than a dozen times. Following the accident, he was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Geneva, about 30 miles away, where X-rays confirmed he had fractured his right femur.

Mr Kerry, who had both hips replaced in 2009 and 2010, remained conscious and “in good spirits” throughout, State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. “Given the injury is near the site of his prior hip surgery, he will return to Boston... to seek treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital with his doctor who did the prior surgery,” Mr Kirby said.

The injury will limit Mr Kerry’s personal and geographical mobility at a key moment for US diplomacy, with the Iran nuclear talks due to be concluded by the end of the month and US-Cuban relations being steadily restored, not to mention efforts to co-ordinate an international response to the threat of Isis in Iraq and Syria.

He was also due to join a summit of the G7 leading economic nations in Germany next week. It remains unclear whether Mr Kerry will require surgery or how long he will be forced to remain in the US after his treatment.

The Secretary of State’s curtailed European trip began in Geneva on Saturday with several hours of meetings with the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Mr Kerry, who has led the US negotiations with Iran since 2013, had reportedly cleared his schedule for this month to try to reach an accord with Iranian officials, to limit their country’s nuclear programme, before the 30 June deadline.

The remainder of his tour was to have included a visit to Madrid to meet his Spanish counterpart, followed by an international conference in Paris on Tuesday to discuss the Islamic State. According to The New York Times, Mr Kerry intends to participate in the meeting through video conferencing.