Sergio Henao (Team Sky) has said that he is unlikely to return to racing this season. The Colombian suffered a fractured knee cap in a crash during a reconnoitre of the Tour de Suisse time trial, last Friday.
"It's pointless trying to hasten my recover and try to return. My priority is to be good physically, at 100 percent, and I don’t think I will be able to return to racing this season," Henao told Spanish website Biciciclismo from his European base in Pamplona, Spain.
Henao is currently waiting to undergo surgery, as the team decide on where they will send him for the operation. If the team opt to send him to the University of Navarra, in Pamplona, he could go under the knife on Wednesday or Thursday of this week.
The Tour de Suisse was Henao's first race since the Tour of Oman in February. His Sky team withdrew him from racing in the intervening period after anomalies were found in an out-of-competition doping control last winter. Following further testing, Henao was cleared by the team to return in Switzerland, and despite the lack of racing action, he found that he hadn’t lost much against the other GC riders.
"I immediately realised that I was physically very strong and I believed that I could at least fight for the general classification. For me, it was a joy when I was third in the stage that Sagan won," he said.
The 26-year-old was in 15th position (36 seconds down on race leader Tony Martin) in the general classification at the Tour de Suisse when he was hit by a car during a recon of the 24.5-kilometre time trial course in Worb. On-race doctor Steve Baynes arranged for Henao to be transported to the nearest hospital, where he was diagnosed him with a fractured patella.
"It was quite scary, thank God it wasn't too bad, because it could have been much worse. The mechanic and the technician said, in the car on the way back, that they couldn't see me after the crash," Henao explained.
"I was at a crossroads and there were several volunteers and I did not know that the roads were still open. I was going around 30 kilometres per hour. The truth is, I didn't see the car and I don't think they saw me either. There was no time for anything, I just felt the impact."
If he had performed well in Switzerland, a start at the Tour de France was still possible. However, now he must go through the arduous process of rehabilitation and recovery with no foreseeable light at the end of the tunnel. It is a tough blow for the Colombian but he remains optimistic that he can come back better than ever.
"It's hard. This is something that I didn't want to go through. All of us want have only victories and podiums, but for me I have had two knocks, first I had to stop and now the injury," said Henao. "I can only have patience, time heals everything. This is a year to forget, a lost year, but I can learn a lot mentally for my life. With this injury I can only work hard to get back to 100 percent. I have the belief, the desire to return and the hunger to be with the best."