Vincenzo Nibali to soon return to training after surgery for fractured vertebra

The Italian suffered the injury after crashing due to fan interference on Alpe d'Huez on stage 12 of the Tour de France

Vincenzo Nibali ahead of stage seven of the 2018 Tour de France (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Vincenzo Nibali should return to training in a few days after having successful surgery on a fractured vertebra which he suffered after a crash on stage 12 of the Tour de France.

The Italian was forced to abandon the race after a video appeared to show a roadside spectator's camera strap catching his handle bars and sending him sprawling to the ground with just 3.8km to go on the finish to Alpe d'Huez. Nibali had initially said that a slowing police motorbike in front of him had been the cause of the crash.

The 2014 Tour winner was miraculously able to get up and continue, finishing just 13 seconds behind the stage winner Geraint Thomas.

Nibali was then taken to hospital in Grenoble around 65km away before abandoning the Tour and flying home to Italy for recuperation and surgery.

Bahrain-Merida said on Tuesday that Nibali had undergone successful surgery that morning on his 10th thoracic vertebra, in an operation performed at the La Madonnina clinic in Milan. The statement said the operation "consisted of the injection of biocompatible cement into the body of the vertebra.”

The 33-year-old will be released from hospital tomorrow and will be able to return to training on a static bike in a few days, his team have said. He will then be able to resume training on the road with an eye on the second part of the season.

Nibali had been scheduled to take part in the Vuelta a España starting on August 25, having skipped the Giro d'Italia to concentrate on the Tour de France and the Spanish race. Bahrain-Merida didn't comment on whether Nibali would be ready to return for the Vuelta, bit he will likely need the block of racing if he's to challenge for the rainbow bands at the World Championships road race in September.

Nibali has made no secret of his desire to win the world title on a difficult course for the climbers in Innsbruck-Tirol.

He went out to recon the course in March this year, saying: "I expected a difficult course. But the recon ride gives me even more respect. Many other riders will be surprised like me.”

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