Van den Broeck was sent into a ditch, along with teammate Bart de Clercq, in the closing kilometres stage 2 after an Astana rider crashed in front of him. His knee was too swollen to asses the full extent of the injuries after the stage. He travelled back from the race to Herentals, Belgium to undergo further examination, which revealed that there was no internal damage.
"Relief is the correct word,” he said in a team press release. “After a crash like that one yesterday and last year's crash in mind, the past 24 hours all possible scenarios have gone through my head. I was a bit scared to go to the hospital. You think of what you could have done better or differently.”
Van den Broeck fell on the same knee as last year’s Tour de France crash, which put him out for the remainder of the season. He was able to complete the stage, but the big worry for the team was that he had done something similar to his knee. However the scans showed that he had only suffered some minor bruising to the bone and inflammation.
Team doctor Jan Mathieu is positive that the Belgian can return to training by the middle of next week. “The injuries he incurred in the Tour 2013 have been spared,” he explained. “There's no infection on the cuts, which can further heal in the following days. Van den Broeck has to rest the next few days; on Monday he'll have a new check-up and if he's been given the green light he can slowly restart training that day.”
If Van den Broeck is able to get back to training next week he shouldn’t miss out on any more racing, as he builds up towards the Ardennes classics. He skipped the three races last year in the build-up to the Tour de France, but they have been put back into his programme for 2014. Van den Broeck hopes that the disruption to his schedule won’t be too great.
“Although the crash and the fact that I had to leave the race were already sufficient bad news, I think I am lucky. I had been able to ride the last kilometres towards the finish and the swelling wasn't too bad, but I was still waiting in anxiety. If I could indeed start training on Wednesday, the loss of training isn't too big.”
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