Wesley Sulzberger out of Vuelta a España with collarbone and elbow fractures
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Wesley Sulzberger out of Vuelta a España with collarbone and elbow fractures

by Ben Atkins at 5:02 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, Injury
Australian rides through the pain to finish stage four but x-rays rule out tomorrow

wesley sulzbergerWesley Sulzberger (Orica-GreenEdge) has been ruled out of starting tomorrow’s fifth stage of the Vuelta a España, after suffering fractures to his collarbone and elbow during today’s 189km ride between between Lalín and Finisterra. The 26-year-old Australian was taken down at the foot of the ferociously steep Mirador de Ézaro climb with some 35km still to race, but rode on to the finish regardless.

"I was in a good position before the start of the climb," Sulzberger explained. "There were barriers at the start, and a BMC rider in front of me almost hit the barrier. He tail-whipped his bike and braked heavily to avoid crashing.

“I dodged the barrier and was about to hit the BMC rider,” he added. “Instead, I braked to avoid riding into him and went up and over my handlebars. Leigh Howard stopped to help me get my bar straightened out, and we set off up the climb together."

Sulzberger was the second-last to finish the stage, close to the back of an 80-strong group of riders, 14’21” behind stage winner Dani Moreno (Katusha). He was taken to hospital immediately afterwards, however, where x-rays confirmed that he had sustained a broken collarbone and a small fracture to his elbow.

"I haven't broken anything before," he said. "It was painful, but I didn't want to give up if it wasn't broken. When I saw [the x-ray] I understood what had happened and that I wouldn't be starting tomorrow. I also have a very small fracture in my elbow."

"I'm extremely disappointed," Suzlberger added. "I had so much to offer the team at this Vuelta, and it has been my season objective to arrive here in top form."

Sulzberger’s crash is the second suffered by Orica-GreenEdge in the Vuelta so far, with Gerrans among the fallers in yesterday’s stage between Vigo and the Mirador de Lobeira. The 2012 Milano-Sanremo winner is still in the race but, despite both of the last two stage finishes having suited his characteristics, he has had to sit back and allow teammte Michael Matthews to fight for the victory.

22-year-old “Bling” Matthews took his chance well, taking third place behind Moreno and Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) on only the fourth day of his Grand Tour debut.


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