Vincenzo Nibali crashed and fractured his left collarbone on stage five of the Eneco Tour to Sittard-Geleen, Netherlands, yesterday. It brought an end to his season and ruled him out of the world championships.
"Vincenzo was heading towards the world championships in Mendrisio in the best shape possible," said Liquigas team manager, Roberto Amadio.
Nibali rode at the front in the finale of the 204.3-kilometre stage to fight for the stage win and protect his place in the overall classification. However, he crashed on a decent, slid and hit his left shoulder.
He started the stage in sixth overall, 37 seconds behind USA's Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream). Lars Bak (Saxo Bank) won the stage and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-HTC) took over the race lead.
Nibali, 24, finished seventh and best Italian at the Tour de France in July. He won the Giro dell'Appennino in June and the GP Camaiore in August.
He could have been one of the team leaders for Italy at the world championships, September 27. The team director, Franco Ballerini, will now look to build a team around defending champion Alessandro Ballan and Damiano Cunego.
Nibali returns home from The Netherlands this afternoon. Team doctor Roberto Corsetti said there is a possibility Nibali will have surgery to help the collarbone heal faster.