Nibali undergoes surgery to remove collarbone plate

Italian uses the off-season for minor operation

Vincenzo Nibali has taken advantage of the off-season to have a metal plate removed from the left collarbone he fractured during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games road race. 

According to Nibali's Bahrain-Merida team, the minor operation was carried out Thursday morning in Bergamo by Professor Claudio Castelli – the Director of the Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology in the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in Bergamo.

Bahrain-Merida team doctor Carlo Guardascione said that Nibali would need 8-10 days of absolute rest to allow the surgical wound to heal perfectly.

Nibali crashed on the descent of the final climb of the Rio Olympic road race and suffered a double fracture in his collarbone while trying to split a three-man breakaway group that included Rafal Majka (Poland) and Sergio Henao (Colombia). Nibali was expected to attack on the tricky descent toward the finish line, but he and Henao crashed around one of the testing switchbacks. Majka was caught by chasers Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium) and Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark) in the last kilometre of the race, and the Belgian won the sprint to the line for gold.

Nibali has just returned to Europe from Taiwan, where he rode and won the Taiwan KOM Challenge hill climb and visited sponsors Merida and FSA.

Nibali will not ride the upcoming Tour de France criteriums in China and Japan. He plans to take a short holiday, move house, celebrate his 33rd birthday on November 14 and then start working for the 2018 season.

The Sicilian finished third in the Giro d'Italia and second in the Vuelta a Espana in 2017. He has yet to confirm his 2018 goals and is awaiting the presentation of the 2018 Giro d'Italia on November 29. He could decide to clash with Chris Froome at the Tour de France in 2018 and then ride the Vuelta a España for stage wins as he builds towards the hilly World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria. 

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