After all that hard training, ready to play your role in a major spring classic, there can’t be anything much more crushing for a professional than being forced to abandon before the race has even started.
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The Italian was the only rider to go down after seeing his front wheel stop dead in front of him and propel him over the handlebars. He seemed to be reaching down towards his wheel at the time of the accident, but it’s unclear exactly why.
His Trek team later reported that he had suffered a broken nose and wounds to the face after the heavy fall.
Shortly after he went to hospital and received facial surgery to repair the damage, with his team later stating that he had suffered a fracture to the base of the skull and would require further examination.
Felline wasn’t the only rider to abandon the race before it got started on Sunday, with Lotto-Soudal’s Tiesj Benoot seeing his Spring Classics campaign go from bad to worse (having already crashed at Tour of Flanders), with illness keeping him from racing at the Amstel Gold.