Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Road

Heartbreak for Mikel Nieve after ending career with fractured collarbone

Basque veteran suffers heavy fall in retirement ride at Il Lombardia: 'I would have liked to finish in a different way.'

Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.

There was a bitter end to the career of Basque climber Mikel Nieve.

The Caja Rural-Seguros captain ended his time in the pro peloton with a broken collarbone after a dramatic fall in the opening hours of Il Lombardia on Saturday.

“I arrived wanting to do it well, Lombardia is a race that I like, but a bottle crossed the road and we could do nothing to do it. It’s obvious that I would have liked to finish in a different way, but cycling is like that and it’s time to accept it,” Nieve said Saturday night.

Also read: Mikel Nieve wanted to be like Miguel Indurain as a kid

Nieve was pictured bloodied up and meters from his bike after an off-camera crash on a high-speed descent Saturday.

The 38-year-old promptly pulled out of the race holding a collarbone that later proved to be broken.

“The ending that nobody wanted for a special day for the Navarrese,” Caja Rural wrote on social media.

It was no sweet swansong to a 14-year career that saw Nieve lead Basque hopes during time with Orbea-Oreka, Euskaltel Euskadi and latterly Caja Rural, and deliver stage victories and a KoM jersey at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. He was also a bedrock of “Fortress Froome” when he rode superdomestique at Team Sky from 2014-2017.

“Despite the blows and the broken collarbone, I’m fine,” he said. “Now it’s time to look forward, my stage as a cyclist concludes here, and I’m satisfied and proud of everything I’ve experienced.”

Nieve is one of a long list of top-level retirees this weekend.

Alejandro Valverde, Vincenzo Nibali, Niki Terpstra and Philippe Gilbert also hang up their wheels after riding through Lombardia and Paris-Tours.