Further medical checks have revealed additional injuries suffered by Nicolas Roche in his Vuelta a España 2019 crash.
The Sunweb rider crashed on stage six and was forced to abandon the race, briefly visiting the medical car but then climbing off his bike after 100km of racing.
Initially, Roche required stitches to his left forearm, as well as suffering a bruised right quadricep. However, additional medical checks have revealed the Irishman has also suffered a fractured left kneecap.
This will see Roche off the bike for longer than expected, presumably his inclusion in the Irish squad for the Yorkshire World Championships now very much hanging in the balance.
Speaking after the injury setback, Roche said: “After going through the big disappointment of leaving the Vuelta, I held hope that I would still be able to continue riding my bike and compete in the Italian classics once the edema [swelling] had healed. But this news has just hit me again – now my priority is to look after my rehabilitation in the best way possible so that I can get back healthy and on the bike ASAP.”
At the time of his abandonment Roche said it was “one of the biggest disappointments I’ve had in my career. I’d worked so hard to get back to this level and it was a new opportunity to show that I was at this level again.”
The big crash that brought down Roche also caused the abandonment of EF Education First’s Rigoberto Urán and Hugh Carthy.
Explaining Roche’s injury further, Sunweb team physician Camiel Aldershof Said: “Nicolas had a heavy crash at the Vuelta last week sustaining multiple injuries that meant he was unable to continue. Upon returning home he underwent further examinations with an MRI scan revealing a fractured left patella. Nicolas will continue to take it easy for the next few weeks and if all goes to plan, he should be back on the bike within four-six weeks.”
A theme of Sunweb riders and knee injuries has emerged in 2019, with Tom Dumoulin abandoning the Giro d’Italia after a crash and failing to return to racing for the rest of the season as he struggled with an injury to his knee. The Dutchman recently announced his transfer to Jumbo-Visma for the 2020 season.