By Anthony Tan
Although looking like he was returning to his best following his crash on the third stage of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen earlier this month, most recently placing second to Alessandro Petacchi on the final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo favourite Robbie McEwen has now discovered he has a rib fracture that has impeded his sprinting ability, but will nonetheless take to the start of La Primavera in Milano this Saturday.
Said McEwen in an email to Cyclingnews yesterday evening: "After returning home from Tirreno-Adriatico where I suffered a lot with rib and back problems, I decided to get checked out in the AZ Geraardsbergen Hospital. An X-ray and CT scan clearly show a fracture of the fifth rib on the right side, which occurred in my crash during the final stage of the Three Days of West Vlaanderen.
"I have decided to ride Milan-San Remo despite the break then consider what to do from there. A rib normally needs minimum four weeks to heal but I have worked very hard and suffered so much to get this far, and want to have a go at Milan-San Remo. Of course, it isn't ideal and maybe not sensible, but a similar approach to my back injury during the 2004 Tour worked out well, so we'll see."
The Davitamon-Lotto rider added that the other rider involved in the same crash, Matti Breschel from Team CSC, has been released from hospital in Belgium and returned to Denmark yesterday to continue his recovery. "I want to wish him all the best and a speedy recovery," said McEwen.