Movistar confirm broken kneecap for Valverde

Spaniard's 2017 likely over after Tour de France crash

Movistar has confirmed a broken left kneecap and Talus bone fracture Alejandro Valverde following his stage 1 crash at the Tour de France. The Movistar rider was unable to finish the 14km time trial and was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery. With his recovery expected to take several months, the Movistar team said Valverde is unlikely to return to racing during the 2017 season.

"[He was] Transferred by ambulance to the University Hospital in Düsseldorf, examinations confirmed two fractures to his left leg: one in his kneecap and another one in the talus bone. Valverde also suffered a deep wound to his tibia, without any muscle tissue affected by that cut," read a statement from Movistar.

"The doctors taking care of Valverde's condition have decided to operate him on his kneecap fracture tonight, which means that Valverde will remain in Germany for the next few hours and the schedule for his return home is still unconfirmed. The recovery time expected by the Movistar Team's doctors makes it unlikely for the Spaniard to return racing during the current season."

Valverde posted a photo on social media from his hospital bed on Sunday morning, writing: During the night they have operated on my patella fracture at the University Hospital of Düsseldorf. Everything has gone well. Thank you all for being there for me."  

The Movistar team explained on Sunday that Valverde's three hour surgery also included treatment to other injuries.

"The operation not only consisted on healing his most serious fracture -the kneecap of his left leg-, but also took care of and closed two important wounds at Alejandro's tibia and gluteus. The talus fracture in his left ankle did not require any intervention," the Spanish team explained in a statement.

"Surgery started just before midnight and lasted three hours, after which the Spanish rider was taken back to his room at around 5am on Sunday. Valverde will stay in Germany for at least two more days before returning to Spain to start his recovery, which is expected to take a few months."

Valverde crashed around half-way through the course when entering a left-hand corner when his front wheel slipped out and he skipped into the barriers on the right-hand side of the road. Valverde's left knee took the brunt of the impact.

Valverde was to be a key rider for Movistar and Nairo Quintana with the Colombian explaining he is a big loss for the team ambitions.

"I feel it a lot. It is really sad for the team and it is really disappointing to lose him from this competition knowing that he was one of our best riders," Quintana told a group of reporters as he sat on the steps of his Movistar bus.

"It will be very difficult [without Valverde], he is one of the most important riders for us and strategically it is a disappointment not to have him. I hope that he can recover quickly and there are no complications."

2017 had been on of Valverde's best seasons to date as he took wins at Volta a Catalunya, Tour of the Basque Country, Vuelta a Andalucía, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, La Flèche Wallonne and the Vuelta a Murcia. After winning his fourth Liege title in April, Valverde said it was his best season yet and could end his year early as a result.

"It is my best ever season, my best ever year," he said. "I could go on holiday tomorrow now and be satisfied. 11 wins this year so far, and I wouldn't know which one pleases me the most."

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