August Jensen's fledgling Classics campaign came crashing to a halt Tuesday at Le Samyn in Belgium when the Israel Cycling Academy rider hit the deck on a cobbled section as the race's final selection was taking place.
Jensen's team reported on Twitter that the 27-year-old Norwegian fractured his collarbone and will return home undergo likely surgery to repair the damage.
Jensen was navigating a cobbled section in the company of eventual winner Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and a host of riders competing to make the final lead group on the Chemin de Wiheries inside 40km to go when QuickStep's Davide Martinelli slipped out in a corner and went down. Jensen was unable to get around Martinelli and crashed hard.
Although Martinelli was able to remount and get back in the race, Jensen had to abandon and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.
"I knew it was bad when I hit the ground but was hoping all the way to the hospital," Jensen said in a statement the team posted on Twitter.
"I was hoping to hear it's just a dislocated shoulder, but when I saw the X-rays I knew it was false hope. Broken collarbone. I am at a loss. I was really waiting for our Classics season," Jensen said.
Jensen, who is in his second year with the team, scored three top-10 finishes so far this year in stages of Etoile de Bessèges and Tour de la Provence. He started the 2019 'Opening Weekend' with a DNF in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne but had a strong ride in Le Samyn before the crash ended his race and his hopes for a successful Classics campaign.
"It came in the worst of timing: A bulk of great races, the next one was Tirreno-Adriatico that I will now have to watch on TV and cheer my teammates," he said. "The half-full glass is that I am back to Norway. Assuming they operate, I will be back on the trainer soon.
"As a guy that lives in the cold, at least I am pretty used to training on rollers."