Australia's campaign for the UCI Road World Championships has possibly hit another hurdle with Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) suffering a back and shoulder injury at the Brussels Cycling Classic at the weekend.
The news follows a hip fracture suffered by Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) on stage 3 of the Vuelta a Espana which was not formally diagnosed until last week. He has since withdrawn from the grand tour in order to recover for the start of season 2014.
Rogers, runner-up at this year's Tour of California, sixth at the Critérium du Dauphiné, and key ally for Alberto Contador at this year's Tour de France, was named as part of the 17-man long list for the Australian team and his spot is now in doubt.
"The field was extremely nervous at the time of the crash," Rogers said of his accident on a statement on the Saxo-Tinkoff team website. "A rider went down right in front of me and I didn't have time to think before I landed on the grass in the side of the road. Luckily, I didn't hit the asphalt but took a softer dive on the grass and the damages would probably have been far more severe on the road. Fortunately, nothing's broken. I have been through this type of injury two times before and it causes pain in my shoulder blade and back."
Rogers did not finish the 197km race. The 33-year-old had flagged a strong back-end to his season with the worlds, Il Lombardia and the Tour of Beijing. Rogers said that he has not been able to train on the road since the incident, but has been able to use his home trainer and with that in mind, is not sure of his fitness for the worlds.
"… but I reckon I have time to recover for Lombardy and Beijing," he explained. "Regarding the World Championships, I'll make the decision in the next couple of days. Of course, it's frustrating as I have been doing better and better and have been feeling strong but the risk of crashing is a part of the job. I just hope for a speedy recovery."
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