Cummings out with collarbone, scapula and sternum fracture
Dimension Data lost its second rider to injury in as many days - after Mark Renshaw broke his ankle in the Scheldeprijs, Steve Cummings suffered a heavy fall in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco on Thursday, breaking his left collarbone, scapula and fracturing his sternum.
Team doctor Jarrad Van Zuydam said that the Briton will be unable to lead the team in the Ardennes Classics.
“The scapular fracture extends into the joint meaning that Steve will likely need surgery to ensure an accurate reduction. He will stay in hospital overnight to allow adequate pain management but we hope to transfer him by tomorrow and schedule the surgery in the next two days. If all goes well, we can expect to have him on a trainer in two weeks’ time with a gradual return as pain allows."
Atapuma out with broken wrist, concussion
The Colombian crashed with 14km to go, also sustaining a concussion that will keep him in the hospital overnight.
Atapuma led the Vuelta a Espana for four stages last year before losing the jersey and then crashing on stage 12. He has had a rough start to the season, crashing out of the Vuelta a San Juan in January.
Schär on the mend ahead of Ardennes Classics
BMC Racing's Michael Schär could make an early return from a broken collarbone and hip sustained on stage 1 of Paris-Nice in time to race the Ardennes Classics, his team announced Thursday.
BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Max Testa said, "Michael has fortunately recovered better than we anticipated, partly due to the fact that he is young and in good shape, and also because his fractures were non-displaced. He has been riding pain-free for the last week and is back on the road rebuilding his strength. He has good sensations so far but we will still be cautious with his training load at the moment."
While the team does not want the Swiss rider to start any "risky races", they will keep track of his recovery over the next two weeks. "Michael will most likely be ready to race again at Liège-Bastogne-Liège," Testa said.
Schär is eager to get back into the thick of the races, and has been training well. "I hope to be racing as soon as possible because I no longer have any pain and I'm back to doing long rides at a high intensity," he said. "Now my focus is on getting my fitness to where it needs to be and I'm confident that I can be ready to race during the Ardennes as I would love to race at least one Classic this year before we move on to the next part of the season."
Axeon for Circuit des Ardennes
After taking second and third last weekend in the Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux in Belgium, the Axeon Hagens Berman team will turn its focus to this weekend's three-day Circuit des Ardennes. Axel Merckx's U23 team took second and third ovearll with Eddie Dunbar and Nielson Powless last weekend, but will substitute in a fresh squad for this weekend.
Will Barta, who was ninth overall, will stay on with the team. "Last weekend highlighted the strength of the team and how we were able to use that strength to our advantage," Barta said. "Even the guys who were not up there in the final general classification were all so strong and really had an impact on the race. For this coming weekend, I would like to have a big impact on the race and go for the win. I think we have another strong, excited team and we all want to keep the momentum from the past races going."
Barta and Adrien Costa will be joined by Australian Michael Rice, winner of the final stage of the San Dimas Stage Race, Ecuadorian Under 23 national time trial champion Jhonatan Narvaez and Rui Oliveira, the best young rider at the Joe Martin Stage Race.
"This race will be good for the guys to see where they stand at the moment," Sport Director Koos Moerenhout said. "For Michael, it will be his first race in Europe. Of course, Jhonatan and Rui did Volta ao Alentejo, where we won the team title. Everyone's condition seems to be fine, so I expect all of them to ride together very well."
The four-stage race has courses of 184.5 km and 181.1km on Friday and Saturday, respectively, and split stages on Sunday of 76.1 and 103km.
"I assume there will be a bit more climbing from the Flemish Ardennes to the French Ardennes," Moerenhout said. "When I look at the profiles, the second and third days have many climbs. It is hard to say how hard they are. But it will be a challenging three days of racing."
Axeon Hagens Berman for Circuit des Ardennes: Will Barta, Adrien Costa, Rui Oliveira, Jhonatan Narvaez, Michael Rice.