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U.S. national road champion Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue) was forced to abandon the Vuelta a España on Friday following a high-speed crash that resulted in extensive skin loss and a broken hand.
“I have a broken bone in my right thumb,” Warbasse said from a hospital in Spain. “I knew that it was gone as I tried to ride on my bike but it felt like my hand split in two when I put it on the handlebars.”
The crash appears to have been caused by a fan’s stray mountain bike, which was left on the right-hand side of the road. “We were in a cross wind section in the gutter,” Warbasse said. “We were full-gas. I didn’t see the mountain bike until it was too late, until it was in front of me. Either I hit it or someone else hit it, I am not sure. I went flying. It was cheese grater pavement so I have lost a lot of skin.”
The crash also sent Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data) out of the race in stage 7.
Warbasse was one of the leaders of his Aqua Blue squad, which is in the midst of its first grand tour. He was responsible for his team’s first WorldTour victory, a stage win at the Tour de Suisse in June, and followed that up with his win at the U.S. national championships.
Aqua Blue estimates that Warbasse will be away from racing for six to eight weeks. He will likely undergo surgery on the bone in the coming days.