Doctors remove hardware from Rojas' healed leg

Movistar rider has rod and pins removed from fracture suffered in 2016 Vuelta crash

More than a year after doctors used a metal rod and two pins to secure his fractured leg, José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar) today underwent successful surgery to remove the hardware that has been in his leg since he injured it in a crash during stage 20 of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana.

The two-time Spanish road race champion, who was an integral part of Nairo Quintana's 2016 overall win, was riding in the stage 20 breakaway on September 9 last year when he was forced wide by a race vehicle on the descent of the Alto de Tollos, causing him to slide out into and underneath a guard rail, his leg slamming into one of the supports.

Rojas was transported to hospital, where medical staff confirmed open fractures of his tibia and fibula and immediately operated. Doctors placed a rod and two pins in Rojas' lower leg. Nearly a month and a year to the day of his crash, doctors removed the rod and pins today.

Rojas, who is signed with the team through 2018, bounced back this season in March, failing to complete his first race back at Strade Bianche but then finishing 10th at the one-day GP Industria & Artigianato. He impressed with fifth in Amstel Gold, and then scored multiple podium finishes at the Vuelta, including a second and two thirds.

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