Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) will not need surgery on the fractured vertebra he suffered in a crash on stage 9 of the Tour de France. While he may possibly return to racing this year, he is now looking towards the 2018 season.
"For the moment, I can forget about bikes," he wrote in his column on telesport.nl. "I'm happy to have no pain and I do not need to be operated because there was also some doubt about that.
"In the next five weeks, I have to wear another corset to correct my posture," he said. "It might be that I'm going to go crazy because of that rupture in my spine."
As to his return to action, he said, “I can't say if I'm riding another race this year," said Gesink. "There's no real purpose when I'm wearing that corset. Maybe I can go to China at the end of October, but it's still a question of what my form is like.
"So, it looks like it will be 2018. Too bad, but that’s the way it is. It's too early to make up my program, but if I can say it now, I'd start the Tour the same way I've done now."
Gesink was involved in a crash less than five kilometres after the start of the ninth stage, with Manuel Mori (UAE Team Emirates) and Angelo Tulik (Direct Energie). "Just in front of me, a man fell and I stumbled across him," Gesink told Dutch broadcaster NOS. "It was really not that hard a fall. I fell with my buttocks on the asphalt and felt it in my back."
It was the third time that Gesink has crashed out of the Tour de France, having done so previously in 2009 and 2013.