Vincenzo Nibali’s Giro d'Italia challenge in doubt after training crash

Milano Sanremo 2021 112th Edition Milano Sanremo 299 km 20032021 Vincenzo Nibali ITA Trek Segafredo photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Vincenzo Nibali’s Giro d’Italia hopes are up in the air after the Italian crashed in training on Wednesday. The rider has been diagnosed with a broken radius in his right wrist and will undergo surgery on Thursday, in Switzerland. His Trek-Segafredo team has not confirmed whether he will still ride the Giro d'Italia, which starts next month, opting to make a call post-surgery.

The two-time Giro champion recently returned from an altitude camp on Tenerife and was training near his home in Lugano, Switzerland, just over the Italian border, when he hit the deck. Nibali fell on his wrist and was taken to the hospital right after the incident.

“Unfortunately we have to inform you that Vincenzo Nibali fell this morning during training and hit his right wrist,” read a statement from Trek-Segafredo. “Radiographic checks are now in progress at Lugano hospital to understand the extent of the problem. More updates will come later."

The team released a further statement on Wednesday to confirm the fractured bone.

"This morning Vincenzo Nibali fell alone while he was training near Ponte Tresa, in the district of Lugano, hitting his right hand. Clinical examinations at a Lugano-based clinic (X-ray and CT scan) have unfortunately revealed a compound fracture of the radius of the right wrist.

"The Trek-Segafredo medical staff, in agreement with the team management and Vincenzo, have decided to opt for an immediate osteosynthesis surgery to reduce the fracture, scheduled for tomorrow in Switzerland."

"Only after the surgery will it be possible to hypothesize a recovery path and make the necessary evaluations regarding Nibali’s participation in the Giro d'Italia."

Nibali later posted a photo of himself in hospital to Twitter, saying it will be a difficult path to make the Giro start.

"I am struggling to find the words to describe the huge sorrow I feel," he wrote. "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."

After his last appearance came at Milan-San Remo on March 20, Nibali was due to return to racing on Monday at the Tour of the Alps. After riding the Giro, he was set to double up with the Tour de France, ahead of a tilt at the Olympic Games road race in Tokyo in late July.

Wrist injuries are relatively common in cycling crashes, with fractures to the scaphoid bone particularly vulnerable when riders fall on their hands. In severe cases, riders can be ruled out for up to two months. Luke Rowe was in plaster for six weeks following his scaphoid break in 2018, while Fernando Gaviria is currently out for a month with the same injury.

Some require surgery but others are more minor, with Annemiek van Vleuteun winning the silver medal at last year’s World Championships just days after breaking her wrist. Riders can quickly return to riding indoors on static trainers, but usually have to miss the races on the immediate horizon.

The Giro d’Italia begins in Turin on May 8.

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