Nicolas Roche’s aim of contesting the World Road-Race Championships looks to be over after his Team Sunweb squad announced on Tuesday that his crash in the Vuelta a España was more serious than first thought. Roche wore the leader’s red jersey for three stages but crashed out on stage six while in fifth place overall.
The team initially diagnosed him with a bruised right quadricep. He also needed a dozen stitches. However, it has announced that further examinations with a MRI scan determined that he had suffered a fractured left kneecap.
“Nicolas will continue to take it easy for the next few weeks and if all goes to plan, he should be back on the bike within four to six weeks,” said team physician Camiel Aldershof. The World Road-Race championships takes place in Yorkshire on September 29th, ruling Roche out.
The Irishman was in superb form and will rue his absence from an event that could have suited him well. He will also miss out on races such as the Il Lombardia Classic.
“After going through the big disappointment of leaving the Vuelta, I held hope that I would still be able to continue riding my bike and compete in the Italian Classics once the edema had healed,” said Roche. “But this news has just hit me again. Now my priority is to look after my rehabilitation in the best way possible so that I can get back healthy and on the bike ASAP.”
Meanwhile, hopes that stage 11 of the Vuelta a España would come down to a sprint didn’t play out on Wednesday, with an early breakaway move being allowed to gain huge time and to finish over 18 minutes clear of the main bunch.
Sam Bennett said before the stage that he expected a long-distance move to stay out front and so it proved. He rolled in 165th, 21 minutes behind the solo winner Mikel Iturria, once again conserving energy in the hopes that a bunch sprint may take place in the days to come.
Thursday’s 12th stage features a trio of third-category climbs inside the final 40 kilometres, but a reduced-bunch sprint is again possible.