Robert Kiserlovski (Astana) did not start the first stage of the Tour de Romandie after discovering that he is suffering from a cracked vertebra. He now faces a race against time to recover ahead of the Giro d’Italia, which begins in Turin on May 7.
Kiserlovski sustained his injury when he crashed heavily into a parked truck on stage 7 of Paris-Nice, but x-rays taken at the time failed to shed light on the problem. In the intervening period, the Croatian had been sidelined by severe shoulder pain.
Although he made a return to competitive action with a solid showing at the Giro del Trentino last week, Kiserlovski was still feeling the effects of his injury during the prologue of the Tour de Romandie on Tuesday. An MRI scan taken after the time trial revealed that he was suffering from a cracked vertebra.
Kiserlovski has returned home rather than risk doing further damage by crashing again at the Swiss race.
“He needs to avoid falling again, as that could be far more serious,” Astana team doctor Simone Uliari said, according to Velochrono.fr. “It is therefore wiser that he goes home, and we hope that painkillers will help him to be able to sleep. He can still train, but it is necessary that he avoids crashes.”
Should Kiserlovksi recover in time for the Giro, he will be one of team leader Roman Kreuziger’s key lieutenants. Like the Czech, he joined Astana from Liquigas ahead of the 2011 season.
“He has good legs to help out Roman in the mountain stages,” Astana manager Giuseppe Martinelli said. “We are leaving him rest. The most important thing is that he sleeps again and that he suffers less. We will analyse the situation with him at the end of the week.