Tom Boonen to abandon Vuelta a España with broken hand
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tom Boonen to abandon Vuelta a España with broken hand

by Ben Atkins at 4:31 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Vuelta a España
Belgian sprinter injured in stage fifteen crash; looks certain to miss Worlds; season could be over

tom boonenTom Boonen (Quick Step) will not start the sixteenth stage of the Vuelta a España on Tuesday, after injuring his hand in a crash on stage fifteen. The former Belgian and World champion was involved in a crash, close to the rear of the peloton, with around 40km to go but remounted and finished the stage on the top of the mythical Alto de l’Angliru.

Boonen finished 23’24” behind stage winner, and new race leader, Juan José Cobo (Geox-TMC), along with lead out man Nikolas Maes, a few seconds ahead of the final group of non-climbers. After being transported to the local hospital in Gijón for x-rays though, it was discovered that he had fractured a scaphoid bone in his left hand.

"I was twentieth in the group when the next moment I found myself on the ground, due to a sudden movement of the peloton,” said Boonen. “I immediately understood that my problem was serious, but I wanted to finish the race and then evaluate what to do together with the team's medical staff.”

After a disappointing season, where he crashed out of the tour de France, Boonen was beginning to find some good form as he builds towards the World championships in Copenhagen, Denmark later in the month. Despite suffering with serious saddle sores, he finished sixth in the tricky sprint finish on stage twelve, and Tuesday’s stage would suit his characteristics even better.

As well as abandoning the Vuelta, Boonen looks almost certain to miss the World championships, where he could have challenged for a second title on a course that should suit the sprinters.

“I couldn't even manage to hold the handlebars,” he explained. “I had a lot of trouble getting to the finish line. It's a really tough moment for me. I was doing really well in the past few days and, as we're getting closer to the World Championship, it was perfect.”

“The entire scenario changed in a moment,” he concluded. “I’m very disappointed."


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