Despite just finishing in the top 10 at Paris-Roubaix, Trek-Segafredo's Edward Theuns will take a break from racing and undergo surgery to remove pins that were placed in his spine after his crash in the Tour de France last July.
Theuns was blown off his bike by a gust of wind during the stage 13 time trial, and he fractured his T12 vertebrae. He underwent surgery in Gent, Belgium to have pins and screws placed in his spine to stabilise the break, and faced a lengthy recovery.
"It's very nice to see that I can finish eighth in Paris-Roubaix. But my back is not fully recovered and I suffered from the succession of races, especially this week," Theuns said according to Belga. "I have always considered 2017 as a transitional year. Coming back after an injury is not a given. This eighth place proves that I made a big step forward. Even before my fall, I did not expect to finish eighth in Paris-Roubaix. I always thought that the great classics like the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix were too hard for me, but now I made this top 10 and I'm very proud."
The 25-year-old planned since his return in January to have surgery to remove the hardware in his spine this month. His surgery is scheduled for April 21.
"I'm going to have the screws and pins in my spine removed because of a little irritation," he said. "In principle, the recovery will not last too long. The surgeon is talking about 10 to 14 days, the team doctor thinks that even 10 days will be enough. It is difficult to predict. Afterwards, my back will remain sensitive, I will continue to exercise, but I see things more positively than two months ago. I thought that it was too hard and I could not move, but everything went well in recent weeks."
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