The classics campaign of Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco) is in doubt after the Belgian crashed before the end of the neutral zone on Stage 5 of Tirreno - Adriatico on Sunday. He suffered a rupturing of the bursal sack in his right knee, causing heavy swelling.
Vanmarcke won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with Garmin in 2012, and then followed that performance up by finishing top-10 in Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke.
The 24-year-old had been sitting in 54th overall prior to his abandonment, with his best result of the race coming on Stage 3 where he finished in 12th place.
"First news is that the bursa of my knee is torn," he tweeted on Sunday evening. "First days will decide if operation is needed. Tomorrow new research in Antwerp.
"The only thing I'm hoping is that the classics aren't over. Last 5 months were all focus and dedication, and then this shit happens."
Should his fitness allow it, Blanco had been planning for Vanmarcke to share leadership with Lars Boom over the cobbled classics. Vanmarcke’s injury comes just 24 hours after teammates Wilco Kelderman, Mark Renshaw and Robert Gesink were forced to withdraw from Paris - Nice.