Photo: Tim De Waele | (File).

Greg Van Avermaet breaks ankle, needs surgery

Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet crashes on his mountain bike, breaking his ankle. He undergoes surgery on Monday.

PARIS (AFP) — Belgian Olympic road race champion Greg Van Avermaet is to undergo surgery on a fractured ankle, his BMC Racing team said on Monday.

A statement on the team website said, he will, “undergo surgery to secure a small, non-displaced, distal left fibula fracture, that he sustained two days ago while training on his mountain bike.” The surgery was to take place Monday.

A winner of stages on the past two editions of the Tour de France and always fancied in the one-day classics, the 31-year-old had an impressive run in 2016. He won the overall at Tirreno-Adriatico after a mountainous stage 5 was cancelled. He also won stage 5 at the Tour, the Olympics road race, and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal.

BMC said Van Avermaet would be back in time for the start of the 2017 season. He is set to have surgery in Antwerp on Tuesday and will be out of the saddle for up to four weeks.

“I am confident that this injury will not interfere with Greg’s objectives for the 2017 season,” said BMC doctor Max Testa.