While the Giro d’Italia peloton headed north from Jerusalem to Haifa for stage 2 to Tel Aviv, Kanstantsin Siutsou prepared to head home to Italy and begin a long and careful recovery after fracturing a vertebra in his neck during his recon ride of the time trial course.
The Belarusian Bahrain-Merida rider was one of several riders to crash on the technical 9.7km city centre course. Overall favourites Chris Froome and Miguel Angel Lopez also crashed, suffered abrasions during the morning training season, while Australia’s Jack Haig crashed during his ride.
Siutsou was unable to ride the time trial due to his neck fracture; meaning 175 riders started the 2018 Giro d’Italia.
“Unfortunately my Giro was over before it started. I fell during the recon training ride,” he said in a video posted by his Bahrain-Merida team on Saturday morning.
“It’s a big disappointment for me and for the team. I had good shape and was ready to support my team and give my best. Unfortunately this Giro id over for me.”
Siutsou has twice finished in the top 10 at the Giro d’Italia and was set to play a key support role for Domenico Pozzovivo this year. He came into the race on strong form, having won the Tour of Croatia last month. Now he faces further medical checks up on his return to Italy to better understand the time needed to make a full recovery.
According to Bahrain-Merida team doctor Carlo Guardascione Siustou will need to wear a special neck brace for three weeks, he will need eight to ten weeks for the fracture to heal and can perhaps start training again in three months.
“We’ll see how things go when I'm back in Italy. I think in a few days I’ll have a second check-up and x-ray to know more about the time I need to recover. I know my body and I’ll give my best to come back faster and stronger,” Siustou said.
“I can only good luck to team good luck to the boys. Now I’ll be watching the Giro on television.”