Vincenzo Nibali is recovering from his Tour de France crash at home in Lugano, Switzerland, confident his fractured vertebrae will heal in time for him to line up at the Vuelta a Espana on August 25 and so target the world road race championships in Innsbruck on September 30.
Nibali collected a special orthopaedic corset on Saturday, which he will wear when standing, to ensure his vertebrae are held in the correct position.
The Vuelta a Espana starts in 35 days and Nibali hopes to recover in time for the final Grand Tour of the season.
“I’ve come back from worse injuries. Fortunately what happened doesn’t seem to have compromised the final part of my season, the Vuelta and the world championships,” Nibali confirmed to La Gazzetta dello Sport after returning home to Lugano from the Tour de France.
“I first need to rest up for quite a few days because there’s nothing I can do while I’m still in pain.”
Nibali underwent a detailed scan on Sunday that confirmed the fracture in his T10 vertebrae in the centre of his back. A further scan will be done in 20 days to confirm the bone is healing.
Nibali posted a video update on social media on Sunday from the swimming pool at home. For now he can walk around in the water. Next week he will start work on retain his muscle tone and fitness in pool without putting pressure on his back. He will also be fitted with an electro-magnetic device that speeds up the calcification of his fractured vertebrae.
A spectator’s camera strap has been blamed for sparking Nibali’s crash as he chased after Chris Froome four kilometres from the finish at L’Alpe d’Huez. Social media videos captured the moment of the incident and showed how fans and police motorbikes invaded the road, with flare smoke greatly reducing visibility.
Despite an apology from Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme, Bahrain-Merida team manager Brent Copeland has confirmed to Cyclingnews that the team is considering legal action against the Tour de France for the damage caused by the crash.
Nibali has always been calm and controlled since the crash, his anger tempered by the long journey to Grenoble hospital by ambulance after the Tour de France organisers were unable to arrange helicopter transport.
“How should have I reacted? Should I have thrown my bike in the air? What could I have done? The damage was done,” Nibali said.
“I have to look to the future. That’s life. Sometimes events put you in these difficult situations but the important thing is that everything works out okay.”