After crashing 29 kilometres into Saturday's Milano-Sanremo, Stuart O'Grady's Spring Classics season is over. The resulting broken collarbone has forced the Australian to skip the rest of the spring racing.
The Saxo Bank rider received a more detailed check-up in a clinic in Monaco on Saturday night, where a doctor diagnosed a broken right collarbone plus a fractured rib. To top it off, O'Grady has an edema between the lungs and the ribs.
O'Grady couldn't believe his bad luck. "It is extremely sad to see the Classics disappear for my part, because of a crash. The past several months of hard work had a purpose and focus: Classics, and especially Paris-Roubaix. Now I see it all crumble, but hopefully I get the opportunity to come back later." O'Grady won Paris-Roubaix in 2007.
Saxo Bank's team physician Piet De Moor said that the initial diagnosis in the hospital was only bruises. "But when they looked more carefully at the X-ray images, he was called back. The most serious is his edema between the lungs and ribs, which required surgery yesterday and he might have to go back to get more."
Even though the fractures are minor and the edema easily treatable, De Moor was without good news for O'Grady. "It is not likely that he gets on the bike and will be able to train hard in the next few weeks. Seen in that perspective, the Classics, unfortunately, are over for Stuart."
De Moor knows that O'Grady is a tough guy. "If everything goes well he can come back and go fast again in a month's time. He has certainly had his share of accidents in his career, but I think on the other hand, that he – if anyone – has the strength and morale to come back quickly."
Team owner Bjarne Riis was also taken aback by the news. "Nobody can replace his experience and what Stuart would contribute to our Classics line-up, and it is really unfortunate that he will be missing out on the races he is best at. He had timed his form perfectly for the cobblestone races, and in my point of view, he was destined to be one of our main riders who could have been there in the final."
Riis was sorry to see O'Grady crash again. "The whole team wishes him a speedy recovery and we hope to see him back in peak shape soon."