SAN JUAN, Argentina (VN) — Fernando Gaviria’s run at the opening classics and the early spring races may hinge on a crash Wednesday in the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina.
Quick-Step’s star Colombian sprinter fell with around 50 kilometers to race in stage 4 as Bora-Hansgrohe and Lotto-Soudal lined the peloton out in echelons.
The crash also involved American Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo), who fell on the “bad knee” he previously injured in other crashes.
“I think Gaviria may have crashed first,” Stetina said. “I saw a Quick-Step bike flying right away, just after Lotto went to the front and lined us all out in echelons.”
“His whole body is very scraped up. The speed was very high when it happened,” Quick-Step’s sport director Davide Bramati told VeloNews.
Gaviria’s left knee seems to have taken the worst of the blow. He is at the San Juan hospital after first going by ambulance to the hospital in the finish town of Villa San Agustín.
In an early report from the hospital, VeloNews learned Gaviria escaped fractures. He did suffer multiple abrasions on the body and a deep wound on the left knee. Stitches were not needed. He is due to stay overnight in the hospital.
“He broke his helmet. He’s all scraped up, his right knee, yes. He sat down in the team car for 10 minutes with the team doctor and we decided that it was better that he stopped. Also his back, his arm, his hands were scraped.”
Gaviria’s teammate Maximiliano Richeze went on to win the stage. Gaviria was the star sprinter for the South American stage race. The Colombian, winner of four stages of the Giro d’Italia in 2017, is due to lead Quick-Step in the Tour de France for the first time in 2018.
Gaviria should compete in the national championships and the Colombian stage race Oro y Paz starting on February 6 if all is copacetic.
This season, he wants to take a run at the big cobbled monuments after Milano-Sanremo. His first races back in Europe are due to be the opening classics weekend in Belgium, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne one-day races.
The race schedule remains up in the air following the Argentine incident.
“It’s important that it’s nothing serious but yet we are still far off from the big races,” added Bramati. “It’s important nothing is broken.
“It is just San Juan, yes, but it would have been better that this didn’t happen and he didn’t pull out. If nothing’s broken he will have time to recover and keep going.”