Australia's hopes for the UCI Road World Championships later this month have been dealt a blow with Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) diagnosed with a hip fracture caused by a crash on Stage 3 of the Vuelta a Espana.
Increasingly uncomfortable and in pain, Gerrans was formally diagnosed with his injury following stage 13.
"I've been in a quite a bit of pain since my crash on stage three but was hoping it wasn't too serious so that I could stay in the Vuelta and prepare for the World Championships," Gerrans explained. "The pain just got worse and worse, and today we decided to have it scanned. That's when we learned about the fracture."
Gerrans had been named as part of the long list for the worlds with the Vuelta forming part of his final preparations for the event in Florence.
"I've had a feeling something wasn't right over the last few days," Gerrans continued. "This obviously means that my season is over because an injury like this needs time to heal. I was really aiming to finish the year off with some good results, but with this happening, I need to pack it in for 2013."
Gerrans has once again proved to be one of Orica GreenEdge's best performers in 2013, with the 33-year-old claiming the team's first-ever stage victory at the Tour de France, along with other stage wins at the Tour Down Under, Volta a Catalunya and Vuelta al Pais Vasco. He also made it to the podium in Amstel Gold Race for the second time in his career.
"I'm obviously really disappointed, but I have a lot of good memories from one my best seasons to date," Gerrans added. "I'm sort of lucky that I can still recover fully in time to come back strong next year. This season has been great for me and the team. I look forward to healing up and setting new goals for next year."