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Julian Alaphilippe has received some good news on a day where he crashed out of the Vuelta a España, with initial medical assessments revealing that his injuries are not as severe as were first feared.
The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider slid out on a dusty corner inside the final 65 kilometers of stage 11, and was loaded into an ambulance with his shoulder bandaged.
His team has provided an update which will keep hopes alive that he might yet be able to try to defend his world championship title in Australia at the end of September.
“Those examinations have revealed that Julian Alaphilippe has dislocated his right shoulder, while X-rays have shown there is no fracture,” his team said in a media update on Wednesday.
“Doctors have reduced [corrected the dislocation – ed.] the shoulder as a result. Julian will travel to Belgium on Thursday, where he will undergo an extra scan at the hospital in Herentals, in order to rule out any further damage.
“At this point, no timescale has been set for his recovery.”
Alaphilippe has had a difficult season, being sick early on, having a spectacular fall in high winds in Strade Bianche, and then a more serious crash in the Brabantse Pijl in April, when a risky passing maneuver by his own team car sparked off a fall in the peloton.
He then had a more serious crash four days later in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, breaking his scapula and two ribs and suffering a punctured lung. That put him out of action for two months and while he returned to racing at the French nationals, was passed over for Tour de France selection after finishing 13th there.
The double rainbow jersey winner finally seemed to have turned a corner when he won the opening stage of the Tour de Wallonie on July 27th, only to withdraw from the race after the second stage due to a positive test for COVID-19.
He’ll hope that the scan in Herentals will rule out any further damage and that he will recover quickly from his shoulder dislocation.
The world road race championships will be held in Wollongong on September 25th, in just over three week’s time. Alaphilippe won the title in 2020 and again last year.