Ian Stannard admitted he is ‘gutted’ to be missing the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix after Team Sky officials confirmed the former British national champion fractured a vertebra in a crash at Gent-Wevelgem.
Stannard, 26, has been ruled out of the rest of the cobbled Classics campaign after falling into a ditch during a crash-hit race. After spending the night in hospital, the Essex rider will now fly home while his team-mates compete in the two Monuments.
“I’m gutted not to be riding in those races and it’s going to be really hard to watch them on TV,” he told the team website.
“To be honest, I haven’t had time to really think about it yet because it’s been a pretty painful 24 hours.
“You can’t rush an injury like this and I’ve just got to rest up now. Once I’ve spoken to the specialist I’ll have a better idea of what I can and can’t do, and then I’ll be able to focus on my recovery.”
Stannard had been one of Team Sky’s leading hopes for the Classics season after winning the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, but was brought down on Sunday as the peloton approached the Baneberg.
He explained: “Someone came across the road in front of me from the right and their rear derailleur got caught in my spokes.
“I thought I’d got control of it but then they looked around to see who they’d hit and that flicked my bike again and I went straight into the ditch.
“That was the first time I’ve ever had to stay in hospital overnight, and hopefully the last time as well.”