Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) has been forced to abandon the Eneco Tour after crashing early during stage 4, from Aalter to Sint-Pieters-Leeuw in Belgium. Boonen was examined in hospital in Deinze, where x-rays revealed no fractures, and the Belgian was cleared to return home.
In a statement on Thursday afternoon, Boonen's Etixx-QuickStep team noted that he has been ordered to rest until the end of this week before resuming training.
"Right after the incident, reminiscent of the one in the 2015 Abu Dhabi Tour, where Tom crashed and hit his head, suffering a left temporal bone fracture, the 35-year-old was attended by Etixx – Quick-Step’s doctor, who decided that the best thing for Tom – who had a few abrasions on his body – was to abandon the race as precautionary measure and go by ambulance to the nearest hospital, so that his condition gets evaluated," the statement read.
"Fortunately, the cervical X-ray he underwent at the St. Vincentius Hospital in Deinze didn’t reveal any injury, so Tom – winner of three races this season – was cleared by the doctors to go home, where he is to rest until the end of the week, before returning to training."
Although Boonen was reportedly able to remount after the crash, he soon wheeled to a halt again and abandoned the race. The 35-year-old was immediately taken to hospital for further examination after telling doctors that he had been left dazed by the crash.
“Tom Boonen was eating when his wheel hit a pothole and he crashed,” Etixx-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere said, according to Le Soir. “Since my rider felt dazed, it was immediately decided to bring him to hospital for further tests. I hope that his injuries won’t be serious.”
It remains to be seen if Boonen’s injuries are such that he will miss the World Championships road race in Doha next month. The 2006 world champion is slated to lead the Belgian team in Qatar and has built the second part of his season around the race. Boonen underlined his form by winning the Ride London Classic and the Brussels Cycling Classic in recent weeks.
Boonen was left with permanent damage to his hearing after suffering a temporal bone fracture when he struck his head in a crash at last year’s Abu Dhabi Tour. The Belgian resumed training sooner than initially anticipated on that occasion and went on to place second at Paris-Roubaix in April.