Vuelta a Espana
A bandaged-up Ian Boswell racing the fifth stage...

Vuelta: Boswell rides on after hard fall

Ian Boswell rides on at the Vuelta after taking a nasty fall in stage 4

Ian Boswell is riding through injury at the Vuelta a España after a nasty crash in Tuesday’s stage 4. He lost some skin in the incident, but at least he kept his sense of humor.

“Excitement for U.S. cycling yesterday. [Ben] King at the front and me at the back,” he joked before the start of stage 5 on Wednesday.

Boswell’s described his crash as a simple “racing incident” that occurred when mechanical issues sent him back to the team car. He lost his balance on a twisting road and hit the deck.

“The road was bending and I was talking and it was just one of those things,” he told VeloNews. “No one’s fault.”

Boswell estimated his speed at the time at 60 kilometers per hour. With that much momentum, it was a particularly rough fall. The 27-year-old American went down on his left side and his elbow took the brunt of the crash.

“I went and spent four hours in the Granada hospital last night doing all sorts of scans, super thorough medical stuff,” he said. “Nothing broken but I guess they’ve treated it as if it was an open fracture because it was deep and the bone was exposed.”

As Boswell recounts, the race doctor initially told him he should stop because he was “hemorrhaging blood,” but that didn’t deter Boswell, who pushed to the finish and says he plans to continue riding on as long as it is manageable — and as long as his injuries don’t prevent him from steering and braking.

Boswell is at the Vuelta in a similar role to the one he played at the Tour de France. He may get a few chances of his own, but his team’s main objective is to shepherd Ilnur Zakarin through three weeks of racing. The Russian all-rounder finished on the overall podium behind Sky’s Chris Froome and Bahrain-Merida’s Vincenzo Nibali last year.

The crash threatens to derail what Boswell was otherwise expecting to be a good race for him following his Tour debut this July. Without the stress of the pre-Tour buildup, but carrying form after three weeks of racing in the summer, Boswell had reason to believe there might be good things in store in the second half of his season.

Fortunately, Wednesday offered some proof that Boswell can still handle an intermediate-type stage despite the injuries he sustained in his crash. He finished a little over two minutes behind the peloton in stage 5, and nearly 10 minutes ahead of a big group of stragglers numbering over 50 riders. He’ll hope to continue to recover as the race pushes north from its opening stages in Andalusia.

However the Vuelta plays out, Boswell may have a few remaining items on his calendar this year. A climber-friendly world championships in Innsbruck, Austria seems like a perfect time for Boswell to make his worlds debut, and he’s hopeful that he can make the selection.

“I’ve spoken with the national team. I’m on the long list. I don’t know if this [crash] changes anything, it kind of depends on how it goes,” he said.

Andrew Hood contributed to this report from Roquetas de Mar, Spain.