German Continental squad NetApp has confirmed that Eric Baumann faces up to eight weeks out of competition after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured tibia suffered at the Beverbeek Classic on Saturday.
The German sprinter suffered a displacement and fracture of his right tibial head in a crash towards the end of the Belgian event. He was transferred to Aachen University Clinic in Germany, where the injury has been stabilised through the insertion of a metal plate.
"This is just about the worst thing that could have happened," said NetApp Sports Director Jens Heppner. "If everything proceeds according to plan then in about one-and-a-half weeks Eric could be able to begin doing very light training with a maximum of 80 watts on the stationary bike."
Baumann, 29, is will spend a week at the clinic in Aachen before returning to his home in Leipzig, Germany.
Squad headed for Spain
Baumann's exclusion is a blow for the NetApp team, who are still searching for their first victory after joining the professional peloton this year. The squad will line up at the Tour of Murcia on Wednesday, where they hope to play an active role against their ProTour rivals throughout the five-stage race.
"We want to show what we can do there and prove our worth in the individual stages," said Enrico Poitschke, the team's sports director for the Spanish event. "We will always try to keep pace with the breakaway groups."
Team NetApp for the Tour of Murcia: Nico Keinath (Germany), Andreas Schillinger (Germany), Huub Duyn (Netherlands), Jan Barta (Czech Republic), Daniel Schorn (Austria), Timon Seubert (Germany), Cesare Benedetti (Italy)