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Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel - Euskadi) was in the lead group with 20 kilometres remaining.
UPDATED: Basque rider unable to defend climber's jersey on Saturday
Amets Txurruka broke his collarbone in a crash on the descent of the Alto de Aia in Friday's Vuelta al Pais Vasco fifth but the Euskaltel-Euskadi climber's hopes to ride Saturday's final time trial stage in defense of the King of the Mountains competition were dashed. Saturday morning it was announced that he would not be at the start of the closing stage, having had a bad night with the fracture.
Txurruka was away alone when he crashed. Despite the injury, he finished the race, coming in over 14 minutes down. Directly after the stage, he was taken to hospital in Guipúzcoa, where a clean fracture of the right collarbone was diagnosed. He immediately asked the doctors whether it would be possible for him to ride on Saturday.
The 27-year-old had secured the mountains classification in the race, with a total of 66 points. There are no ranked climbs in the closing time trial. But he will lose the title if he does not finish the final stage.
“His participation in Saturday's stage seems very complicated,” the team said in a statement issued Friday evening. “Txurruka wears the leader's jersey in the mountain competition and has it wrapped up. That is the only factor that would allow him to participate in the race, and that will be decided on Saturday.”
The fracture will not require surgery, and Txurruka is expected to return to racing in late May.