José Joaquin Rojas had the rod put in after breaking his leg at the 2016 Vuelta a España

Movistar rider José Joaquin Rojas has shared a photo of the huge metal rod that he’s had in one of his legs for the whole of the 2017 season.

Rojas had the rod put in place after badly breaking his leg on stage 20 of the Vuelta a España, suffering open fractures to his tibia fibula after crashing on a bend and colliding at speed with a guard rail at the side of the road.

Astonishingly, the Spaniard then raced the whole of the 2017 season with the rod still in place in his lower leg, even managing to finish fifth at the Amstel Gold Race, picking up top 10 finishes on stages of the Vuelta a España, Tour of Poland, and Volta a Catalunya, and completing both the Vuelta and the Giro d’Italia.

After more than a year with the hardware in place, doctors in Spain finally removed the rod and pins, leaving a happy-looking Rojas to pose in his hospital bed alongside the piece of metal that has been part of his body for the last 12 months, joking that the operation meant he would “save a few grams” for next season.