Tom Boonen says that he knew his Classics season was over as soon as he crashed on Monday's stage at Paris-Nice, as his team Etixx - Quick-Step confirm that he suffered a compound fracture to the head of his left radius on top of the initial grade three acromioclavicular (AC) joint dislocation.
The four-time Paris-Roubaix winner fell heavily after touching wheels with a teammate in a slow-paced stage one in the Race to the Sun. Boonen immediately sat-up clutching his left shoulder, and it was confirmed later on Monday, after he had abandoned the race, that he would need to have surgery to repair the dislocation, however the fracture would only require a cast.
An injured elbow and crashes blighted the 34-year-old's 2013 Classics campaign, while personal tragedy struck to affect his form last year, leaving Boonen even more disappointed to miss out again in 2015.
"I’m really disappointed," Boonen said in a statement, "for the third time in a row something unfortunate happened that affected the Classics. Every time because of different circumstances.
"It was a stupid crash with big consequences at Paris-Nice yesterday," he explained. "We were with four teammates in the back and had just brought our jackets to the car, and as others in the peloton were doing, we took a nature break for the last time before heading back to the front."
Tom Boonen ruled out of Classics after shoulder injury sees him withdraw from Paris-Nice
Monday's stage of Paris-Nice saw the peloton take most of the day at a leisurely pace, with riders chatting and easily dropping back to the team cars or stopping ahead of what inevitably finished as a bunch sprint.
Boonen was forced to brake hard as the peloton stopped sharply in front of him and was unable to prevent himself from falling, while a Cannondale-Garmin rider also fell in front of him.
Despite having wished things would have panned out differently, the Belgian knows that he will have to accept what happened as he recovers ahead of the rest of the season, though no return date has yet be set for him.
"The stage was very easy, long roads, and nobody was nervous," Boonen said. "But all of a sudden there was a hold up. I had to do a brake maneuver, but while braking you cannot steer your wheel as you normally do.
"I touched my teammates Nikolas Maes's wheel and crashed. In two seconds I realised that my classics season was over. I imagined it differently and I was ready for the Classics. But I can't change what happened and it is something I need to accept."
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Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.
An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).
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