Peter Stetina (BMC Racing) will be sidelined for “months” following surgery in the aftermath of his harrowing crash at the Vuelta a País Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) this week.
The American climber underwent surgery Thursday in a Spanish hospital to repair injuries sustained in the crash, when he and others hit two metal poles that were in the final stretch of Monday’s opening stage. Riders protested in the wake of the accident, and the UCI has promised to investigate the incident.
Stetina broke his right leg in two places and four ribs. Teammate Darwin Atapuma cut his left knee, but was able to start the next day. BMC doctor Max Testa said Stetina is recovering well after undergoing surgery to repair his broken tibia and patella.
“The surgery was successful,” Testa said. “The knee specialist who performed the surgery was very happy with the result. At this point in time, we are expecting approval from the treating medical team to move Peter back to the United States. His first stop will be at the Park City Medical Center, where he will be reassessed by Dr. Eric Heiden before starting his rehab program toward full recovery.
“However, we all know that given the nature of the injury, it will take a few months of rehabilitation and training before he will return to competition.”
That means Stetina will not be able to race the Amgen Tour of California, where he was targeting a strong performance in the overall classification. It’s too early to say if Stetina will be able to return in top condition to race the Tour de France, where he rode to 35th overall in his Tour debut in a support role for team captain Tejay van Garderen.