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Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) will miss the chance to defend his Australian National Road Race and Santos Tour Down Under titles in January after crashing in training yesterday.
Gerrans broke his left collarbone while mountain biking, having finished a training ride on the road earlier in the day.
“About half way through my mountain bike ride I became a little unstuck, came down and landed pretty heavily on my left side,” Gerrans explained in an Orica-GreenEdge press release. “I knew straight away as I hit the ground that I had broken my left collarbone.
“From there I had a little bit of a walk to get down to a point where I was picked up by a four-wheel drive and went directly to Mansfield hospital to get cleaned up and have the x-ray to confirm.”
Gerrans will undergo surgery this afternoon and is expected to spend between a week and 10 days off the bike.
The injury comes at arguably the worst time of year for Gerrans, who had a third Australian National Road title in his sights. He would also have started the Santos Tour Down Under and Jayco Herald Sun Tour as the red-hot favourite, having won the former three times (including in 2014) and the latter twice.
Orica-GreenEdge Sports director Matt White said the injury was a huge blow for Gerrans and the team ahead of an action-packed summer of racing in Australia.
“As always he had worked very hard to get himself into peak condition and that is disappointing for him to have it go somewhat to waste”, White said via an Orica-GreenEdge press release. “But he is the ultimate professional; he will be back on the bike in no time and hunting down his next victory before we know it.
“In terms of the team this summer, there is no doubt it is a huge hit, but we have some really motivated guys who are looking really strong. Now it is their chance to step up and deliver in a very important period for us and we are really confident they can do that.”
Simon Gerrans will now shift his focus to the Spring Classics which begin in March.