British star Lizzie Armitstead is out of the Route de France, after crashing in the second stage individual time-trial around Cholet.
The Lotto Belisol rider rode to the stage finish to claim 23rd place on the day, but opted not to start yesterday’s stage.
Coach Dan Hunt explained: “She crashed and bruised her back pretty badly. She is ok – the phyisos were straight on to it – but we’re going to let the swelling come out a little bit and get a couple of x-rays done.”
“We don’t think it’s anything severe, but it’s causing her pain. You don’t want to be compounding the problem by riding a stage race.” Along with road rash and swelling, Hunt believes that Armitstead has sustained a bruised coccyx.
The Otley-born rider will return to the home she shares in Belgium with boyfriend and fellow cycling starlet Adam Blythe to recuperate, with the world championships in Mendrisio a firm goal.
Of course, she already boasts a rainbow jersey in her collection, having won the world championship team pursuit in March to complete a fine track season, which also saw several World Cup wins.
The 20-year-old has also continued to progress on the road this year, finishing highly in the Giro Donne, taking second to Nicole Cooke in the national road-race and winning a couple of Belgian races.