By Shane Stokes
Irish national criterium champion Eugene Moriarty has been forced to withdraw from this month’s FBD Insurance Rás following the diagnosis of a broken collarbone. The MyHome.ie/Cycleways rider crashed on the opening stage of the Ras Mumhan race back in mid-April but despite x-rays taken then, the initial medical assessment was that the problem was a soft-tissue injury rather than a fracture.
He underwent intense physiotherapy in an effort to recover in time for this year’s Rás but a lack of progress prompted a new assessment by a specialist last week, when the true extent of the injury was determined.
"I went to a specialist in Limerick last Thursday to get it checked out again," Moriarty said on Wednesday. "I was originally going to get an MRI done as the doctors thought it was my ligaments and tendons which were damaged. However the specialist send me for x-rays just in case; when they did that, they discovered what is called an "undisclosed break". That means the collarbone is broken but still in place - normally with a break, one part of the bone ends up overlapping the other. Normal x-rays didn’t show this up but the specialist had asked for this x-ray to be taken at a higher resolution and from a different angle, so that is how we found out what is wrong."
"I am very disappointed to miss the FBD Insurance Rás this year, especially as there are two stages in Kerry and one of them finishes in my home town of Killorglin. Aidan Crowley will now take my place on the team."
The reigning national criterium champion was Ireland’s number one ranked rider in 2005 and has been one of the best Irish domestic competitors in the Rás in recent years. He wore the King of the Mountains jersey for four stages in 2005, finishing twelfth overall and placing second in the best county rider classification behind Tim Barry. Moriarty had also taken several top ten stage placings in recent years, winning the Cuchulainn crystal award as best Irish finisher on three stages in 2005 and six other occasions in total. He was also named Kerry Sports Star of the Month on three separate occasions.
His success in the FBD Insurance Rás coupled with his goal of taking a stage prompted Moriarty to prepare strongly for the 2006 season. After competing in Australia and New Zealand at the end of last year he trained hard for the new season, spending time in California as he got ready to return to racing.
"Having two stages in Kerry, including a finish in my home town of Killorglin made me very motivated to do well," he said. "I was training very hard, and when I won my first race of the season I thought I was on track. Unfortunately I’ll miss the race now, so I am very disappointed. Hopefully now that I know the full extent of the problem, I can recover soon and get back to racing as quickly as possible."