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Toon Aerts to start Zolder with four rib fractures

NAMUR BELGIUM DECEMBER 22 Toon Aerts of Belgium and Team Telenet Baloise Lions Mud during the 11th Namur World Cup 2019 UCICX TelenetUCICXWC on December 22 2019 in Namur Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Toon Aerts is planning to start in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Zolder on Thursday despite having not one broken rib as previously reported, but four fractures - the result of a crash on the final lap of the World Cup in Namur on Sunday.

"Starting in Zolder is no extra risk for his rib injury," his Telenet Baloise team said on Twitter.

Aerts had a thrilling back and forth battle with world champion Mathieu van der Poel on a rain-sodden circuit in Namur. The course, thick with mud and freezing cold puddles, became treacherous as the race went along.

Aerts led into the final lap but made several mistakes that allowed Van der Poel to rejoin. He crashed hard into a wooden pole on a descent deep into the finale and struggled to remount as Van der Poel rode on to victory.

The Belgian champion went on to finish second and, thanks to the abandon of compatriot Eli Iserbyt due to hypothermia, took over the World Cup series lead.

Initial x-rays showed one non-displaced rib fracture, but additional examinations on Tuesday showed four fractured ribs.