While Jesus Herrada was all smiles after taking victory in his season opener, the Trofeo Ses Salines-Campos-Porreres-Felanitx in Mallorca, it was not such a good start to the year for Mikel Landa (Movistar) and Rasmus Byriel Iversen (Lotto Soudal).
Both Landa and Iversen had their race cut short after they were caught up in a large crash with 19 kilometres remaining. Movistar confirmed after the race that Landa has been taken to hospital just outside Palma after hurting his shoulder, while Lotto Soudal said that Iversen had suffered a collarbone fracture and will be out of racing for a couple of weeks.
For Iversen, the opening Challenge Mallorca race was the first event of his professional career, having moved to Lotto Soudal over the winter. Prior to the accident, it had been going extremely well for the young Dane when he made it into the breakaway soon after the flag had dropped to start racing. His efforts had earned him the honour of most combative and the mountains classification for the day.
The crash occurred around six kilometres after the peloton caught Iversen and his other breakaway companions. It’s the second big injury for a Lotto Soudal rider this week after Jelle Wallays suffered a concussion and a broken jaw as the result of a crash at the Vuelta a San Juan.
"The plan was for Brian van Goethem and Rasmus Iversen to get into a breakaway but only if WorldTour teams joined," team manager Marc Sergeant explained what happened in a team press release. "Before he realised it, Rasmus was at the front of the race, together with two other riders. That way, Movistar had to take the initiative and we could hide in the bunch. Rasmus took the KOM points on the three climbs and even when they got caught, he took second place on the fourth climb.
"But only moments later, he was one of the main victims of a massive crash. It was immediately clear that he broke his collarbone. Talking of mixed feelings… His first race as a pro, immediately 140 kilometres on the attack and breaking your collarbone. That makes already two riders out of competition during the coming weeks after Jelle Wallays crashed in Argentina."
Meanwhile, Landa was looking to get the season off to a good start after his 2018 was derailed by a fractured vertebra following a crash at the Clasica San Sebastian last August. The Spaniard took a blow to his shoulder during the crash and abandoned the race immediately, before being taken to hospital for examinations.
If he is cleared of injuries, Landa could still race again this week, as the Challenge Mallorca is not a stage race but a series of one-day events under a banner name. The event will continue on Friday with the Trofeo Andratx-Lloseta.