Defending Tour of Flanders champion Tom Boonen, with three victories the joint most successful rider in the history of the race, has crashed out of today's centenary edition and may now miss next week's Paris-Roubaix.
The Belgian champion came down 19 kilometres into today's race, and was taken to hospital in Roeselare, according to a statement on the website of his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team, while team manager Patrick Lefevere reportedly told Belgian media that the rider's Spring campaign is at an end.
The team's press officer, Alessandro Tegner, didn't go that far in the statement, saying: "Boonen has a contusion at his left hip, as well as a wound on his left elbow. He also has a contusion and a wound on his right knee that required a few stitches. Boonen is now undergoing X-rays to exclude any fractures."
The team said that further updates will be provided later today.
Last year, Boonen became the first man to complete the season double of Flanders and Roubaix in two separate seasons - a huge achievement, but one that he himself would acknowlege was made easier by Fabian Cancellar crashing out of the former race with a borken collarbone.
Boonen himself has had a wrteched run of luck with injury this season. An innocuous looking cut on his left elbow - the same one injured today - turned septic, requiring him to undergo surgery and disrupting his early season plans.
Last weekend, he injured his knee in a crash at Gent-Wevelgem, forcing him to abandon that race and putting his participation in today's race into doubt.
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.