Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) spent the night in the hospital with an uncertain spring classics ahead following a crash in the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina on Wednesday.
Gaviria abandoned the race after a crash in the cross-wind section of stage four to Villa San Agustín. He fell with many other riders and injured his left knee.
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“He broke his helmet,” Quick-Step Floors sports director Davide Bramati told Cycling Weekly.
“He’s scraped up his left knee, yes. He sat down in the team car for 10 minutes with the team doctor and we decided that it was better that he stopped. Also his back, his arm, his hands were scraped.”
The team ruled out fractures, but doctors in San Juan elected to keep Gaviria under observation at the hospital.
The team celebrated little when Maximiliano Richeze – Gaviria’s normal lead-out man – won the fourth stage. After dinner and a toast of wine from the Malbec vineyards, Bramati went to visit Gaviria in the hospital.
Gaviria went by ambulance to a local hospital near the finish line and then transferred to the San Juan provincial hospital.
A team official said: “Gaviria suffered multiple abrasions on his body and a deep wound on the left knee, but does not need stitches.”
The crash at around 50 kilometres to race could have far-reaching consequences for Gaviria. The 23-year-old Colombian is aiming to perform for the Belgian WorldTour team at the opening Classics races in Europe: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne at the end of February.
He also wants to race Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. The team is then letting him race for sprint wins for the first time in the Tour de France.
“It’s important that it’s nothing serious, but we are still far off from the big races,” said Bramati. “It’s important nothing is broken.
“It is just San Juan, yes, but it would have been better that this didn’t happen and he didn’t pull out. If nothing’s broken he will have time to recover and keep going.”
Time will tell for Gaviria, who was slated to race in the national championships and then Colombian stage race Oro y Paz starting on February 6.
After the Vuelta a San Juan ends on Sunday, Gaviria was due to travel to Medellín on Tuesday and train together with the team. He then should travel to Cali for the six-day stage race Oro y Paz.
Doctors and Quick-Step Floors will need to re-evaluate the situation on Thursday morning when Gaviria wakes up. He could remain there for a day or two, or travel directly home to recover.
Gaviria won the opening stage of the Vuelta a San Juan last Sunday. The stage race continues after Thursday’s rest day, with stage five to Alto Colorado on Friday.