After his goal of winning a stage at each Grand Tour in 2021 unravelled in the final few hundred metres of stage three of the Tour de France, Caleb Ewan is already looking toward the Vuelta a España, plotting his recovery from the first bone he has ever broken.
The Australian crashed hard, having touched wheels with stage winner Tim Merlier after the final bend in the sprint finish, Peter Sagan also tumbling to the ground.
"I don't remember too much, it all happened quite quickly," Caleb Ewan told Velon (opens in new tab) after being diagnosed with a fractured collarbone at the hospital.
"All I remember is I wanted to go quite early in the chicane. We were sprinting on the left and I started and saw the guys on the front were closing to the right so I had to stop sprinting and then hope for it to open up again. But I think when all that happened I came close to Peter and then we were quite close together on the wheel and when Merlier went again to the right I touched the wheel and went down."
A visibly shaken Ewan says he knew it was bad straight away, and could immediately feel the pain from his broken collarbone.
"Usually, when you crash at first you don't feel so much, the adrenaline is there. But straight away I felt a lot of pain and they were pressing on my collarbone and I felt it clicking, so yeah, not good."
Although it's the first-ever bone the 26-year-old has broken, he's already looking towards his return to racing, confident he has enough time before the Vuelta a España next month.
"It's the first bone I've ever broken, but they told me it's broken in four spots. I don't know too much of the details. I have to get some surgery on it to get it back in place. Of any bone to break it's one of the good ones to come back from, recovery-wise," he explained.
"This is part of cycling, unfortunately. I have to let it heal. And when I can train again I'll talk with the team and see which races suit me best.
"There are still seven weeks until the Vuelta so that should be enough time to let it heal and then train. Hopefully, that'll still be a goal of mine this year."
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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