Tests confirm broken collarbone for Valverde after Vuelta crash

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MADRID, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde will have an operation on Saturday as the Movistar rider was confirmed to fracture his collarbone after falling in the seventh stage of the Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain) on Friday.

There were just over 40 kilometers remaining in the stage when the former World Champion lost control of his bike after his front wheel appeared to hit a pothole and he slid off the road, narrowly missing a crash barrier.

Valverde tried to continue but a few minutes later he climbed off his bike and retired from the race in tears. It is only the second time he has withdrawn in 15 participations in the race.

The rider was taken to hospital in Alicante and a first round of tests ruled out a fracture, but late on Friday night the news was different as his team confirmed that "although the first X-rays failed to detect a fracture ... a CT scan carried out in the late evening ended up confirming a collarbone fracture, for which he'll undergo surgery in Murcia on Saturday."

The news is a big blow to the Movistar team, which loses its most experienced rider on the day the Vuelta was due to be raced through Valverde's home region of Murcia.

Valverde's withdrawal means that Enric Mas, who is currently third in the overall classification 25 seconds behind race leader Primoz Roglic of Jumbo Visma, will be without a key support rider in the difficult mountain stages in the second and third week of the race. Enditem

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