Ian Stannard (Sky) has been forced to abandon the Tour of Britain after fracturing his left scaphoid in a crash in the final 500 metres of stage 1 in Liverpool on Sunday. Although the Englishman was able to complete the stage, the injury was such that he was unable to take the start of stage 2 on Monday morning.
“I really wanted to continue riding but I can't use my brake properly and that means I'd be a liability to my teammates and the other riders in the peloton,” Stannard told his team website.
Stannard was one of a number of riders to fall in the finale of Sunday’s opening stage. His Sky team opted to wait until Monday morning to take a final decision although it was soon apparent that Stannard’s wrist injury would prevent him from continuing in the race.
“He somersaulted off the bike after colliding with a fallen rider in front of him, and in an attempt to protect his back, he bore the burnt of the impact on his arms, which is a classic mechanism for an injury such as this,” Sky team doctor Phil Riley explained.
“We brought a surgeon in to advise us on whether it was safe for Ian to continue, but it was too painful when he tried to ride this morning.”
The injury caps a frustrating season for Stannard, who missed four months of the season – including Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France – after fracturing vertebrae in a crash at Gent-Wevelgem in March.
Stannard, who had begun his season on such a high by winning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, returned to action at the RideLondon Classic in late July, before lining up at Eneco Tour last week.
“I was just getting back into some kind of form and enjoying the racing, so to suffer another break is very frustrating,” Stannard said. “I'm going to see a hand surgeon today and we'll have a clearer idea on how serious it is after that. That's when the recovery process will start over and obviously I'll try to get racing again as soon as I can.”
Considering the late date, Stannard’s 2014 season may already be at an end. In any case, he will not have the chance to replicate his fine showing at last year’s Tour of Britain, when he took seventh place on the general classification while helping Bradley Wiggins to final overall victory.
“I love this race and I love riding in front of British fans,” he said. “The Tour of Britain is getting bigger and better every season. Even the foreign guys look forward to riding this race nowadays because of the fantastic reception we receive.”