Bissell's sprinter Kyle Wamsley will be forced to sit out of the upcoming Amgen Tour of California after breaking his collarbone in three places during the fourth and final stage of the Joe Martin Stage Race on Sunday. His ultimate goal of winning the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships on June 6 will also be put on hold until next year.
Bissell recently announced Wamsley as part of its Amgen Tour of California roster, but he will now be replaced by Cody O'Reilly.
"I definitely won't be racing next week," Wamsley said. "[Tour of California] was the primary goal for the first half of the season. It is really disappointing because I've been training specifically for that all year and I've shown in the last few weeks that my form has been improving nicely and people were taking notice of it."
Wamlsey was hopeful that the eight-stage race would best prepare him for his ultimate goal at the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships, a 250-kilometre one-day race held two weeks later.
"It is a huge disappointment," Wamsley said. "I thought coming off of California, whether I did well or not, just finishing the race would have given me a lot of volume in the legs that would maybe get me to the finish at Philly. So long as I could be there at finish, it is a really good finish for me. I could have gotten the Bissell boys on top at that race. So it's a disappointment to be out of California and miss the preparation for Philly too."
Wamsley crashed mid-way through the men's 90-minute criterium in the second to last corner when he was trying to bridge across the breakaway. Doctors confirmed that he broke his collarbone in three places and will require surgery to correct the fractures. He also broke two teeth and suffered from road rash.
Wamlsey will undergo outpatient surgery this week to secure the fracture with a metal plate at the Lehigh Valley Hospital near his hometown of Topton, Pennsylvania. Doctors expect him to make a full recovery within two to five weeks.
"I'll be in surgery for a few hours and the doctors will put a plate on and screw the bones back together a pretty standard procedure," Wamsley said. "The recovery time is a little faster with the surgery because there is no chance for the bones to move around, they are locked in place. It heals faster but the downside is that if you crash again the bones are weakened around the points where the plate is."
Wamlsey expressed his concern for the growing number of dangerously technical courses selected by race promotors. The Joe Martin Stage Race criterium was re-routed due to construction resulting in a more technically demanding course compared to previous years including 12 corners on a steep hillside in downtown Fayetteville.
"They are setting up courses that are so technical that they are using the technicality of the course to make the race selective," Wamsley said. "It's not allowing riders to race each other. They have to race the course as opposed to each other. It was a blood bath on Sunday and disappointing to not have the riders racing each other, just have half the field get chopped out because the course was more or less unrideable for that size of a field."