The seven-time Monument winner fell in the early stages of Friday’s race and later abandoned. A trip to the local hospital later revealed that the rider had suffered two minor fractures in the transverse processes of his lower vertebrae and a recovery period of weeks rather than days would force him out of the Classics.
Cancellara saw his 2012 Classics campaign go up in smoke after he crashed out of the Tour of Flanders with a broken collarbone. He crashed out of the London Olympic road race later that year but came back from both setbacks to have a stellar 2013 season, winning the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. He went on to win the Tour of Flanders last year and came into this campaign as a front-runner for a title defence and Paris-Roubaix.
“In 2012 the world really came down around me. Yesterday wasn’t easy but today is strange. It’s a strange feeling because I go home now. There’s no fix and I just have to wait a few weeks to heal. There’s not much I can do.