Wout van Aert’s Giro d'Italia participation in doubt despite ‘successful’ surgery

Visma-Lease a Bike to make decision on Belgian’s race schedule in the coming weeks as a broken sternum is added to his list of injuries

Clock02:49, Friday 29th March 2024
It is "uncertain" whether Wout van Aert will be able to start the Giro d'Italia in May

© Getty Images

It is "uncertain" whether Wout van Aert will be able to start the Giro d'Italia in May

Wout van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike) underwent “successful” surgery for a broken collarbone on Thursday but now faces a race against time to recover in time for the Giro d’Italia.

The Belgian crashed heavily at Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday and was taken to a local hospital in Ronse where he was diagnosed with multiple fractured ribs and a broken collarbone, with further examinations also revealing a broken sternum, his Visma-Lease a Bike team have confirmed.

Read more: Wout van Aert out of Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix with broken collarbone and ribs

Those injuries have ruled Van Aert out of the remainder of the Classics season, including the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, but his participation at the Giro d’Italia - which starts on 4 May - remains "uncertain". Facing a period of recovery, it is currently unclear when Van Aert will be able to return to riding, and Visma-Lease a Bike will make a decision on his schedule in the coming weeks.

“Wout van Aert had a successful operation today,” his team confirmed in a statement on Thursday. “Examination revealed that he suffered a broken sternum, broken collarbone and several broken ribs.

“It is unclear when Wout will be able to get back on his bike. The next few weeks will be all about his recovery. He will, therefore, miss the spring classics. His participation in the Giro d'Italia is still uncertain. We will make a decision in the coming weeks based on his recovery.”

Wednesday’s crash came as a heartbreaking blow for Van Aert who was one of the big favourites for Sunday’s Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, which falls a week later. Victories at both races have so far eluded the 29-year-old but he set about righting that record by adopting a new cyclo-cross and early-season schedule, with the sole target of peaking for the two Monuments.

In another departure from his regular schedule, Van Aert was also set to make his debut at the Giro, which he previously described as his main goal for the 2024 season. It would be the first time he has started a Grand Tour other than the Tour de France but those plans are now in doubt following the crash on Wednesday that took place 67km from the finish, when the Belgian’s front wheel tangled with the rear wheel of teammate Tiesj Benoot.

Read more: Tiesj Benoot blames himself for crash that ruins Wout van Aert's Flanders dream

Multiple riders went down, including Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven of Lidl-Trek, with the latter also undergoing successful surgery for a broken collarbone on Thursday at the same hospital as Van Aert.

Both riders have been key cogs in Lidl-Trek’s impressive Classics campaign so far and, although Stuyven will now be absent for the remainder of the Classics, the team are holding out hope that Pedersen can recover in time to take to the start line of De Ronde on Sunday.

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