Cavendish loses leadout man Steegmans to fractured thumb

Belgian injures right thumb in training accident and will miss the Volta ao Algarve

Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) suffered a fracture to his right thumb in a training accident near Monaco. The Belgian will miss his planned start at the Volta ao Algarve (Tour of the Algarve) on Thursday.

“I was riding back towards Monaco after training and simulating some sprints,” he said in a team press release. “In a split second I ended up on the ground. Right away I could tell there was something wrong with my right hand. So I went to the hospital and they diagnosed a fracture to my thumb. Fortunately, I was wearing winter gloves and so I avoided further complications.”

Frantisek Rabon will replace Steegmans in the Portuguese tour, but he hopes to return in time to open his classics campaign later this month.

“I’m really sorry that I won’t be lining up for the start of the race,” said Steegmans. “I’m in good form and I wanted to be useful to the team and ride some good leadouts for Cavendish. Oh, well, tough luck… I’m sure I’ll get another chance very soon.”