Astana's Assan Bazayev will travel home to Kazakhstan after undergoing plastic surgery on his nose in Belgium this week. The 29-year-old suffered severe damage to his nose in a crash on the opening stage of the Three Days of De Panne on Tuesday.
Bazayev crashed on the decent of the Berendries during stage one, his face taking the brunt of the impact as he hit a roadside banking. His injuries were described by several directors in the team cars behind the race as some of the worst they had seen.
"It looked terrible; there was just a hole in his face." Astana team manager Lorenzo Lapage told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
Bazayev was transported to a hospital in Oudenaarde after the accident, where a plastic surgeon from Gent carried out surgery to repair the damage.
"The hospital in Oudenaarde let a surgeon from Gent operate," said Lapage. "Eighty per cent of Bazayev's nose was torn, but the surgeon has now put it back in place. His nose is obviously broken, but if everything goes smoothly, he will fly back to Kazakhstan on Thursday."