RadioShack's Steegmans out for 6-8 weeks following crash
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Monday, March 08, 2010

RadioShack's Steegmans out for 6-8 weeks following crash

by VeloNation Press at 10:26 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Paris-Nice
 

Yesterday Team RadioShack sprinter Gert Steegmans broke his collarbone in Paris-Nice's opening prologue. The Belgian crashed spectacularly on a downhill section just 4 kilometers into the 8 kilometer course when a strong gust of wind threw the rider head over heels at 70 kilometers per hour. According to Het Nieuwsblad, doctors at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Waregem told Steegmans he would be out of competition for six to eight weeks.

This is very bad news for the Belgian, as he was coming into form after a tumultuous 2009 where his former Katusha team sidelined the rider following a contract addendum dispute. Steegmans didn't agree with the Russian team's anti-doping clause that was introduced mid-season, which stated that a positive test would result in a fine five times that of his annual salary. The team put a stop to his racing after the Dauphiné Libéré.

Doctors fixed his left collarbone fracture with a solid plate and nine screws.  The team said in a release that if all goes well, he will rest for a week and can then resume training again on the rollers. They said it will be six to eight weeks before he is permitted go out on the bike.  He is expected to remain in the hospital for two days.

The Belgian was off to a great start this season after a long break from competition.  He finished second to HTC-Columbia's Andre Greipel in the first stage of the Tour Down Under, and then headed to Portugal for the Vuelta ao Algarve where his bad luck began. He took a heavy fall and suffered a concussion which forced him to abandon the race. The RadioShack rider was back to racing at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, but was unable to be a factor in the Belgian calendar opener.

Steegmans was expected to head up RadioShack's Spring Classics campaign, but will now be forced to miss his major season objectives, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

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