Bahrain-Merida rider Kanstantsin Siutsou crashed heavily during a training ride around the Giro d'Italia stage one time trial course in Jerusalem, and will not start the race
Bahrain-Merida confirmed via Twitter that the experienced 35-year-old Belarusian – who won a stage of the race in 2009 –would be a non-starter due to the incident. It would have been his eighth appearance in the Giro.
Although the team did not specify his injury, Italian La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Ciro Scognamiglio said on social media that the team told him that they suspected a fracture to a vertebra.
The team said they will give a medical update in due course, as Siutsou is receiving treatment and having his injuries assessed.
Siutsou was one of three riders to have reportedly crashed while on a training ride on the short 9.7-kilometre time trial course around Jerusalem.
Pre-race favourite Chris Froome (Team Sky) was pictured with grazes and ripped kit up his right-hand side after crashing. Local media footage also appeared to show him limping after the incident.
Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez is also reported to have crashed during training, but suffered no significant injuries.
The time trial course is far from straightforward, with several hills and twisting, off-camber corners. After their riders had ridden the route, Quick-Step Floors said via their Twitter account: “The 9.7km-long individual time trial in Jerusalem won’t be a stroll in the park, as it includes some technical sections and rolling terrain which will make for some interesting gaps in the GC”.
The 2018 Giro d’Italia runs from May 4 to May 27. Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) is aiming to defend his Giro win from last year.