Vincenzo Nibali undergoes surgery with hopes of still racing the Giro d'Italia

Vincenzo Nibali
Vincenzo Nibali after his wrist surgery (Image credit: Trek Segafredo)

Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) underwent surgery in Switzerland on Thursday to repair his broken wrist. His team said the procedure was a success. The Italian crashed during training and fractured his right radius bone.

"Vincenzo has been subjected this early afternoon to surgery for reduction and osteosynthesis of the fracture of the right distal radius with the placement of a metal plate and screws," team Dr Emilio Magni said in a press release. "Dr Ivan Tami, a specialist in hand surgery, confirmed the excellent outcome. The operation took place under loco-regional anaesthesia and lasted one hour. He will spend the night in the clinic, and tomorrow, after dressing, bandage replacement, and drain removal, he will be able to return home."

Nibali was due to lead the team at the Giro d'Italia and the break was a setback. He said Wednesday evening on Twitter, "I am struggling to find the words to describe the huge sorrow I feel. But this is the verdict I have to accept. Tomorrow I'll have surgery and then I'll start the difficult path to try to be at the start of the Giro. This is the goal and I will do the impossible to hit it."

It's the third major fracture for the 36-year-old in recent years. In 2016, he crashed in the final lap at the Olympic Games road race in Rio and broke his collarbone and returned to racing six weeks later. In 2018, he was lying fourth overall in the Tour de France and on the attack on Alpe d'Huez when an overzealous fan caused him to crash, fracturing a vertebra. He came back five weeks at the Vuelta a España.

However, Magni said the 36-year-old will have to take three days of complete rest before he starts thinking about racing the Giro d'Italia which begins in three weeks and two days.

"Then, after physiotherapy evaluation, he will start the path of passive and active physiotherapy with the help of a brace. It is difficult now, a few hours after the operation, to make a hypothesis or more precise timing steps. Much will depend on Vincenzo's feeling, as well as on the indications we will receive from the specialists. However, we can have hope that he will resume a minimum of physical activity as soon as possible."

Team manager Luca Guercilena said he will work with Nibali to get him to the Giro. "Our greatest wish at the moment is that Vincenzo can enjoy the maximum tranquility. We will do everything possible to guarantee him utmost serenity in the recovery process.

"We will know day after day with feedback from the physicians and specialists how much this goal will be reachable. We won't leave any stone unturned to get it, but now it's senseless to make any predictions. Let's stay focused on the present and, as soon as we get close to the start of the Corsa Rosa, we will take a decision together. We know how strong Vincenzo is, not only riding the bike but also with his head and character. We will be at his side through the whole process."

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