MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australian cyclist Simon Gerrans has broken his left collar bone in a training accident, preventing him defending his title at next month’s Tour Down Under, the opening event of the UCI WorldTour.
Gerrans, who will also miss the Australian Road Championships later in January, was to undergo surgery on Monday.
The 34-year-old, who rides for Australia’s Orica-GreenEDGE team, fell while riding his mountainbike near his hometown of Mansfield in Vitoria state on Sunday.
Gerrans said “about halfway through my mountain bike ride I became a little unstuck, came down and landed pretty heavily on my left side. I knew straight away as I hit the ground that I had broken my left collarbone.”
Orica-GreenEDGE said Gerrans’ training focus would now shift to the European classic races mid-year.
Gerrans, who has won the Tour Down Under a record three times, was to have clashed with compatriot and former Tour de France champion Cadel Evans in this year’s race.
“Unfortunately it doesn’t matter how well the recovery goes from here, I don’t think I am going to be in any condition to be racing at a high level in January,” Gerrans said.
“It is better to take my time, make sure the recovery goes well and get all the rehab done so I don’t have any ongoing issues.”
The Tour Down Under will take place around Adelaide in South Australia from Jan 17 to 25.