Etixx-Quick Step have confirmed that Tom Boonen is out of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix Classics after he crashed at Paris-Nice today, sustaining a dislocated shoulder that will keep him off his bike for between three and six weeks.
The Belgian former world champion fell following a crash in the rear of the peloton with around 16 kilometres left of today’s Stage 1 of the race from Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse to Contres, won by Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff.
The 34-year-old held his right arm to his left shoulder in what is typically the sign of a collarbone fracture, the incident caught by TV cameras. That turned out not to be the case, with examinations at the Centre Hopitalier in Blois revealing he had sustained a left acromioclavicular (AC) joint dislocation.
In a statement released this evening, team doctor Yvan van Mol said:
An AC-joint dislocation, as we've already seen with other riders of the team with the same kind of injury, requires an extended time of recovery due to the nature of the injury.
Unfortunately, because of the injury and the time it takes to recover, Boonen will not be able to participate in the Northern Classics. Tomorrow Tom will undergo further examination in Belgium to diagnose the grade of the dislocation and determine if surgery is necessary based on the grade.
It's the same type of injury that his team mate Mark Cavendish sustained at in a crash at the end of Stage 1 of the Tour de France in Harrogate last year.
It could not come at a worse time for the Boonen who has won the Tour of Flanders three times, with that race just under four weeks away, and followed seven days later by Paris-Roubaix, which he has won on four occasions.
Boonen was defending champion at both races in 2013 but crashed out of Flanders and was discovered to have fractured a rib, which kept him out of Roubaix the following week.
His great rival over the cobbles, Fabian Cancellara, won both events that year, joining Boonen, who had achieved the feat 12 months earlier, as the only man to win both monuments in the same season twice.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.