Flecha still targeting Paris-Roubaix despite hand fracture
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Flecha still targeting Paris-Roubaix despite hand fracture

by VeloNation Press at 6:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Roubaix, Injury
 
Froome involved in separate training crash

Juan Antonio FlechaSpanish Classic specialist Juan Antonio Flecha has said that he will do his utmost to try to be back in strong shape for the Paris-Roubaix Classic, a race in which he has finished second, third (twice), fourth, sixth and ninth.

The Sky Procycling rider’s consistency in the race marks him out as one who can win it, although at 34 years of age he is running out of time. His preparations for this year’s race have been compromised by a broken metacarpal bone in his hand, sustained last week while out training.

Flecha’s chances of being in form for the race are aided by the fact that he has already shown good form this season. He was third and fourth on stages of the Tour of Qatar and placed third in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Details are scarce about the training accident but according to Eurosport’s Danny Nelissen, the fracture happened as a result of a fight with a motorist.

The Spaniard previously had a dangerous encounter with a car, being hit by a France Televisions vehicle during last year's Tour de France. He and Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil DCM) came down in the crash, which occured when both riders were in a break on stage nine.

Sky Procycling doesn’t give details about the specifics of last week's incident, but its website quotes Flecha as saying that he believes he can be back in good form in time for Roubaix.

“It was disappointing to miss Tirreno because I was in good condition before it and I wanted to use a hard race like that to get an even higher level,” he said. “It is how it is though, riders pick up injuries all the time, and I’m just looking forwards now. I’m optimistic and my morale is still high.

“It’s not a disaster because I was already in good shape, and so long as I can retain that, the rest might actually have done me good.

He said that he was able to ride home from training on the day the fracture happened, and that he did gym work plus training rides on the turbo in the days afterwards. Last Thursday he then underwent surgery and had the bone fixed with two screws; he said that he has rested since in order to avoid any complications, but that he will be able to begin his rehabilitation today when the bandage comes off.

His immediate race programme is uncertain, but he is hoping to compete in Waregem on March 23rd and then Gent-Wevelgem two days later. Alternatively, if doctors deem riding on cobbles is too risky at that point, he has said that he could instead compete in the Criterium International [March 24-25] instead.

Flecha is hoping to ride the Ronde van Vlaanderen as preparation for his big target.

“I don’t think I will be at my peak condition at Flanders [April 1], but I will still give it my all,” he said. “Then by the time Roubaix comes around, I’ll be back to my best and able to give it a really good go.”

Meanwhile another of the team’s riders is has also been involved in a training accident. According to Italian media, Vuelta a Espana runner-up Chris Froome crashed into a 72 year old pedestrian on Sunday.

The rider is relatively unharmed, but the elderly man is currently undergoing treatment for head and facial injuries.

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