Simon Gerrans will miss the 2016 Rio Olympics Games after the Australian Orica-BikeExchange rider broke his collarbone in a crash at the Tour de France on stage 12. Gerrans had a plate inserted as he underwent surgery on his left collarbone in Barcelona on Friday and has now ruled himself out of the August 6 Olympic Road Race.
"Following my crash in stage 12 of the Tour de France resulting in a broken clavicle, with enormous regret I would like to inform you of my decision to withdraw from the Australian team for the Rio Olympic Games," Gerrans said in a statement. "My goal at the Olympic Games was to get the best result possible for Australia. With my current injury my preparation would be seriously jeopardised, and so too my performance at the Games.
"For Australia to have the best chance to achieve the best result possible, I feel I should be replaced by one of the riders in the squad."
The 36-year-old was one of 25 cyclists named in the initial Australian team for the Rio Games and was to ride the challenging road race alongside BMC duo Rohan Dennis and Richie Porte.
Gerrans was leading the peloton during stage 12 of the Tour when his front wheel appeared to be blown out from underneath him when cornering, crashing on his back. The Milan-Sam Remo and Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner was able to finish the stage but withdrew ahead of the stage 13 time trial and had surgery the following day.
"We're going to take the next few days to assess the athletes we have inside the shadow team shortlist, those athletes know who they are and (coach) Brad McGee will be in contact with them," Cycling Australia high performance director Kevin Tabotta told The Adelaide Advertiser. "Those athletes are involved in the Tour de France and races like Poland so it's important Brad has a conversation with them, where they're at form-wise and attain data on their condition.
"With that we will have a selection meeting in coming days, there is no massive rush and a lot can happen in racing."
Having ridden the 2012 London Games, Rio was to be Gerrans' second appearance at the Olympics and would have lead the team. While Australia qualified four placed for the men's road race, Cycling Australia and the Australian Olympic Committee chose to only name three members with an announcement expect in coming days for which riders will fill the vacant positions.
After an injury plagued 2015 season which featured more broken bones than wins, Gerrans looked to be back to his best in the early-season with a fourth Tour Down Under title. Several top-ten results followed when racing in Europe as he built form and condition for the Tour and Olympics but will now sit down with Orica-BikeExchange to discuss his racing schedule and goals for the remainder of 2016.
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