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Pre-race favorite Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) lost the chance to contend for his second Tour of Flanders title Sunday when he was caught up in a crash late in the race. Early reports suggested that Cancellara suffered a hip fracture, but his team confirmed following the race that its classics captain broke his collarbone.
“Fabian Cancellara crashed out of the Tour of Flanders today with a broken collarbone,” the team said in a release. “The 2010 winner of the race fell in the feed zone and was brought to the hospital in Oudenaarde for emergency care. There, a triple fracture of the right collarbone was diagnosed.”
Cancellara was riding in the middle-right of the peloton with roughly 65km remaining when he went down hard in a feedzone. The crash occurred on a paved section of road just beyond the Mariaborrestraat cobbled sector near the end of the penultimate finish circuit.
“I saw him fall, he was right beside me, and I all but went with him,” said Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Sylvain Chavanel. “There were water bottles all over the road. He flew through the air in impressive style. He was very unlucky.”
The Swiss champion lay on the ground for minutes following the crash.
The injury puts an end to Cancellara’s classics campaign for 2012, which included a win at the Strade Bianche and second-place at Milan-San Remo.
“It’s a pity for Fabian, I know how it feels, you do a lot of work, and then you lose all your chances,” said race-winner Tom Boonen. “But that’s bike racing, sometimes you are lucky, sometimes you are not. I can’t say what it would have meant for the race, it’s impossible to know. I’m sure he will come back stronger; he has the Olympics coming up, he still has chances for a nice victory this season.”
The Agence France Presse contributed to this report.