Karsten Kroon, who suffered facial injuries in a nasty fall during last Wednesday's Fléche Wallonne, will undergo surgery tomorrow [Monday] to rectify damage done in the accident.
The Dutchman took ninth in last Sunday's Amstel Gold Race and was looking for another top 10 in La Fléche when his race was brought to an abrupt end courtesy of being collected in a crash when Team Milram's Dominik Roels slid across the road on a sweeping bend.
It initially appeared as though Kroon merely suffered bruising and inflammation around the facial muscles. After a trip to a dental surgeon, the prognosis was not so benign.
"I went to a surgeon yesterday and he had no good news. My cheek was hit by the impact and is damaged on the inside; it should be corrected otherwise my face won't be symmetrical (if it had already been before)," said Kroon on his website.
"As far as I understand it, the zygomaticum (bone below the eye) contains a hole where the facial nerve runs through it. This hole is the most vulnerable area and here it's been broken in half across, meaning the facial nerve is trapped.
"What is really annoying is that the right side of my face feels deaf and I feel a stabbing pain in that hole. Because the sinus bone is broken there is blood in the frontal sinus. My nose is broken and the nose is crooked and the bone has moved. Everything will be corrected with this surgery," he continued.
He described the proposed procedure thus: "There will be one or two titanium plates put in the cheekbone; one from my mouth (from the inside, leaving no scar tissue on the outside) and probably one under my eye, where the surgeon will make an incision in the direction of a wrinkle so the scar will heal nicely. Not fun, but it must happen."
Kroon added that he's in a lot of pain but overall he's handling the situation okay and feeling optimistic about his chances of a solid recovery.