Cycling

Wout van Aert suffers ‘several fractures’ in crash and will miss Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix

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Wout van Aert rides in the Dwars door Vlaanderen before his crash – Getty Images/Tim de Waele

Belgium’s Wout van Aert has been ruled out of this Sunday’s Tour of Flanders and next Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix after breaking his collarbone and “several ribs” in a huge crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday.

Van Aert, one of the biggest stars in professional cycling, went down in a mass pile-up just before the Kanarieberg, with around 60km of the race remaining.

Other big names such as Jasper Stuyven (Lidl-Trek) and Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty) also went down after what appeared to be a gust of wind which triggered chaos.

Television replays showed van Aert, 29, sitting on the roadside in agony, his jersey ripped to shreds and nasty road rash down his back. He was taken to hospital in an ambulance with his Dutch team Visma-Lease a Bike later confirming his injuries in a statement.

“Unfortunately, Wout van Aert suffered several fractures in the crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen today,” the statement read. “A broken collarbone and several broken ribs were diagnosed in hospital. It is unclear how long his recovery will take.

“Van Aert will definitely miss the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and the Amstel Gold Race.”

Van Aert’s absence is a huge blow for the upcoming races, the culmination of the cobbled classics season, which is traditionally held each spring in Belgium and France. Van Aert’s battle with his eternal Dutch rival Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) was expected to be the highlight of the races.

Van Aert had tailored his season towards these races and according to Visma sporting director Grischa Niermann was in “absolute top shape”.

Van der Poel has finished first, second, first, second over the last four years at the Tour of Flanders. Two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) won last year’s race but is not riding this year as he prepares to double up at the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France this summer.

In Van Aert’s absence, the hope will be that Lidl-Trek’s Mads Pedersen or Van Aert’s team-mate Matteo Jorgenson might challenge Van der Poel.

American Jorgensen went on to win Dwars door Vlaanderen, while British starlet Josh Tarling, 20, secured a gutsy sixth place after managing to bridge solo to the lead group inside the final 60km. Tarling then stayed in contention despite being dropped multiple times. The Ineos Grenadier eventually finished 44 seconds back after Jorgensen attacked solo inside the final 10km.

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Source : ESPN.com

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