In his first race of the season, Strade Bianche, Simon Gerrans fractured his elbow in a crash. Now the 34-year-old has been forced to delay his comeback until April

Orica-GreenEdge leader Simon Gerrans hopes to return from injury at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco in early April, ruling himself out of a comeback in Catalunya next week.

A fractured elbow suffered in a crash at Strade Bianche has not healed as quickly as the Australian had planned and the 34-year-old former Team Sky man has been forced to amend his schedule.

The Italian race was Gerrans’ first of the season, having suffered a broken collarbone while riding a mountain bike back in December, but he hopes to be back to full health in time to defend his Liege-Bastogne-Liege title on April 26.

“I had my elbow fracture checked by a specialist today and unfortunately my recovery isn’t to a point where I’m able to ride on the road, so I will need to skip the Volta Catalunya,” Gerrans said on his website.

“For the moment I will continue to do a lot of work on the home trainer and will hopefully get back out on the road in the near future.

“At this stage, my next race is set to be Tour of the Basque Country in a couple of weeks time.”

>>> Chris Froome returns from illness to lead Team Sky at Volta a Catalunya

Orica-GreenEdge sports director Matt White added: “The most important thing right now is Simon’s recovery and once he’s able to race, we’ll see how we can best manage his program going onwards.

“The fact that he might already be on the road in a couple of weeks is still very good progress, but it’s not the time of year where you can jump into the biggest races and expect to be in with a winning chance.”