Aru to skip Flèche Wallone, Liege-Bastogne-Liege
Fabio Aru (Astana) has decided to skip the remaining Ardennes Classic Flèche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege after experiencing back pain Sunday during the Amstel Gold Race, according to a statement released by his team.
Aru did not finish Sunday's race, won by Enrico Gasparotto (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) in six hours, 18 minutes and three seconds. Aru crashed during the fifth stage of the Pais Vasco earlier this month and was forced to abandon that race as well.
"Fabio Aru suffered of some pain on the back during today Amstel Gold Race, probably as a consequence of the fall suffered during the fifth stage of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco," Astana said in a statement released to the media Sunday evening.
"To prevent him any possible further consequence and looking to the next important goal of the season, the Tour de France, the team's management, in agreement with the athlete, has decided to anticipate the rest period that would have started from next Monday. As a consequence of this decision, Fabio Aru will not attend to Fleche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege."
Felline injured in Amstel Gold Race neutral section crash
Fabio Felline was the first victim of Amstel Gold Race on Sunday as he was caught up in a freak solo crash in the opening neutral section, sustaining a broken nose and a fracture at the base of his skull.
"Fabio crashed with his face directly into the ground," explained team physician Jens Hinder in a statement released by Trek-Segafredo. "He sustained a broken nose and cuts to his face and the radiologists also found a fracture at the base of the skull. He needs further examination to determine if it is stable or unstable and this will determine what treatment is required for recovery. It is too early to know until he undergoes further tests."
Although the recovery time from the skull fracture will be determined after Felline undergoes further examination, he will certainly will be sidelined for the remaining Ardennes Classics, according to the team.
Second stage win secures Vuelta a Castilla y Leon overall victory for Valverde
Movistar completed a clean sweep of the three stages at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon with Alejandro Valverde claiming stage 3 to Alto de Candelario, and with it, his second GC win of the season having won the Ruta del Sol in February. Carlos Betancur opened the teams account with his first win of the season on stage 1 before Valverde soloed to stage 2 victory, repeating his antics the following day to well and truly justify his decision to skip Amstel Gold Race.
"I'm leaving Castilla y León full of happiness," Valverde said after his victory. "The race couldn't have gone better -stage wins for Betancur and myself, the GC- and, above all, this is an excellent way to get the racing pace and start building up before the Giro, which I'm so excited about. I want to thank the whole team - they worked their heart out all weekend long and even more so today, from the very beginning."
Valverde will next be in action at La Flèche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, races he won in 2015, but explained in 2016 his ambition for the first half of the year is the Giro d'Italia. A race the 35-year-old has never previously started.
"Now it’s all about Flèche and Liège. Going for the win? Well, we will see," he said. "The field of contenders is completely different to what I had to face this weekend. Those are races I've really enjoyed for years, but my main goal at the moment is staying safe and keeping my form going up before the biggest goal of the early season for me, which is the Giro."
Click here for Movistar's 11-rider long list for the Giro d'Italia
Stef Clement suffers fractured collarbone after Amstel Gold Race crash
Clement was forced to abandon the race and was taken to a hospital in Maastricht where medical staff assessed the injury, prescribing surgery to correct the injury. The team announced it will discuss the time frame of Clement's return from injury with its doctor.