Nibali was a big pre-race favourite for the long and hilly Rio course and was away in a three-man group over the top of the final climb of the Vista Chinesa, only to see his dreams go up in smoke as he crashed on one of the descent's many treacherous corners. The Italian sat at the side of the road as he began to come to terms with the disappointment, and scans later revealed he had a double fracture of his left collarbone.
He flew back home to Italy on Sunday and checked into the Poliambulanza Foundation in Brescia on Monday morning to undergo surgery.
"The fracture near the sternum was incomplete and this has not been subjected to any treatment," read a statement, "while the distal one - near the acromion clavicular joint - has been surgically reduced with the application of a metal plate."
Nibali, who should be released on Tuesday, will be required to have 10 days of complete rest before resuming activity gradually. Though a recovery time cannot be given at this moment, collarbone injuries usually allow riders to get back on their bikes pretty quickly, and not lose too much of their form.
Along with the Giro d'Italia, which he won in May, the Olympic road race was Nibali's biggest target of the 2016 season, and to end it like that was no doubt a bitter disappointment. There is, however, more to achieve this season, with the defence of his Giro di Lombardia crown coming up on October 1.