The Belgian suffered nasty injuries in a fall during the final of stage two

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Lotto-Soudal suffered a blow at the Vuelta a San Juan when Jelle Wallays crashed and took nasty facial injuries

The Belgian was hospitalised after he crashed during the final of stage two in Argentina.

Lotto-Soudal said the 29-year-old suffered facial trauma, lost one tooth and chipped another.

He also suffered a cut to his lip and a broken jaw.

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The team said: “Jelle Wallays crashed during the finale of the second stage of the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina.

“Unfortunately, the rider has suffered a facial trauma.

“He lost one tooth and broke another one, he also has a cut in the upper lip and a fracture in the upper jaw.

“Due to a concussion, the rider spent the night in an Argentinean hospital for observation.”

Wallays, a stage winner at the 2018 Vuelta a España, was one of Lotto’s best hopes of success in Argentina – he took a win at the early season stage race last year.

Stage two of this year’s Vuelta a San Juan went to charismatic French climber Julian Alaphilippe, who benefited from the driving of Movistar on the final climb 3km from the finish.

The Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider broke free with Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Wallays’ team-mate Tiesj Benoot but was able to leave them behind while riding across the exposed dam.

Despite the concerted chase from behind, the reigning Tour de France King of the Mountains held on to cross the line first.

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He said: “The entire team did a great job and I was motivated in the finale, but when I attacked I never imagined I would finish alone, so I must say I surprised myself with this victory.”

The opening stage had been won by Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria, his first race day of the year.

Gaviria joins UAE Team Emirates from Quick-Step, and the 24-year-old doesn’t appear to be suffering from any fresh start jitters.