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Tadej Pogacar undergoes ‘successful’ wrist surgery after crash

87th La Fleche Wallonne 2023 - Men's Elite

HUY, BELGIUM - APRIL 19: Tadej Pogačar of Slovenia and UAE Team Emirates celebrates at podium as race winner during the 87th La Fleche Wallonne 2023, Men’s Elite a 194.3km one day race from Herve to Mur de Huy / #UCIWT / on April 19, 2023 in Huy, Belgium. (Photo by David Stockman/Getty Images)

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BRUSSELS -- Two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar said he was lucky to escape from his weekend crash with only a broken left wrist, an injury that should not derail his Tour preparations.

A day after his team said he underwent successful surgery in Belgium, Pogacar tried to focus on the bright side in a message on his social media, considering the “crazy crash that happened.”

The accident during the Liège–Bastogne–Liège, cycling’s oldest classic, was not captured on TV, but Pogacar’s team principal at UAE Team Emirates said it happened at very high speed.

Mauro Gianetti said Pogacar hit the road after Mikkel Honoré had a double puncture just in front of him.

“It was in a slight descent, and very fast and very high speed, and he could not avoid the crash,” Gianetti said.

In his message, Pogacar wished the best recovery to Honoré, “who went down way harder than me.”

Pogacar was expected to return to his Monaco home, according to his team. He was treated by a hand surgeon at a hospital in Genk immediately after the crash. He had a small screw inserted in his left wrist to realign the fragments of his scaphoid bone. The team said the Slovenian would need six weeks to recover.

“He will start with immediate rehab, and some training on an indoor trainer,” team medical director Adrian Rotunno said.

Because of the short recovery period, Pogacar should have a decent period to prepare for the Tour de France in July.

“Fingers crossed it will be all OK and he will be able to recover very fast,” Gianetti said.

Following his wins at the Amstel Gold and Flèche Wallonne, Pogacar aimed to become only the third male rider to seal a hat trick of the Ardennes classics but had to abandon after 85 kilometers (53 miles). The race was won by world champion Remco Evenepoel, who put on an impressive attacking display to win Liège–Bastogne–Liège for the second year in a row with a solo effort.

Before his accident, Pogacar had been untouchable this year, also dominating the field at the Tour of Flanders.

His maiden win at the Flèche Wallonne marked his sixth race victory of 2023 - to go with six stage wins at the weeklong Paris-Nice and Tour of Andalucia races - a streak that is drawing comparisons with cycling great Eddy Merckx.

Pogacar planned to stop racing after Liège–Bastogne–Liège to recover and was not scheduled to compete at the Giro d’Italia starting on May 6. His next big goal was the Tour, where he will try to restart his dominance after being dethroned last year by Jonas Vingegaard.

The Tour starts on July 1 in the Spanish city of Bilbao.