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British champ explains his absence from the Vuelta later this month

The British cyclist Steve Cummings has told of how he finished the Tour de France with two fractured vertebrae - and it’s affecting his fitness for the Vuelta.

Responding to a fan on Twitter, the Dimension Data rider said he had fractured the L1 and L2 vertebrae in his lower back.

It was in reply to a query after he was not selected for the Vuelta a España later this month.

A Twitter user asked if it was due to the “30 per cent climbs and blistering heat”.

36 year old Cummings said: “Heat or steep climbs don’t concern me, it’s part of cycling. The problem is, I fractured L1 and L2 vertebrae in the tour. I had to rest.”

 

Cummings suffered with back problems after a fall in the 17th stage of the Tour, which saw him flip through a ditch and into a field. He did, however, complete the stage, and the Tour.

 

Last month we reported how Dan Martin was forced to skip Clasica San Sebastian after discovering that he rode much of the Tour de France with two fractured vertebrae.

"During the Tour I didn't have any problems when racing, but off the bike I wasn't feeling very comfortable, so this week I did a scan and got the news,” explained Martin.

According to a statement from his Quick Step Floors team, a medical examination revealed two small transverse process fracture to the L2 and L3 vertebrae, meaning Martin will be sidelined for the next three weeks.

The Irishman was memorably waylaid by the horror crash that ended Richie Porte’s Tour de France on stage nine, but picked up his bike and rode on.

He later said that the incident had left him unable to climb out of the saddle: “In the crash I hit so hard against the bank that all the muscles went into spasm. On the bike there was no pain, none sleeping or standing up. It was just when I had to bend my back the muscles hurt.

“You don’t need to straighten your back on the bike. No problem. [But] I wasn’t able to get out of the saddle. I could sprint, but I couldn’t climb out of the saddle because of the hip angle. That was the biggest challenge.”

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.