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Mar 27, 2015 – Three-time winner Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland suffered two fractured vertebrae in a crash during the E3 Harelbeke on Friday and will miss the rest of the Spring Classics.
The crash, on the cobbles of the first classic of the season, also took down a couple of the other favorites, John Degenkolb and Lars Boom, although they carried on. Three other riders, however, were taken to hospital.
“X-rays have confirmed the worst: 2 fractures of vertebrae in lower back for @f_cancellara means no spring campaign. #E3H,” tweeted Cancellara’s Trek Factory Racing team.
The injury is a massive blow for Cancellara, coming in a race referred to as a mini (218km) Tour of Flanders as it takes in many of the same brutal climbs and cobbled sections. This race leads into the Ghent-Wevelgem on Sunday before the Tour of Flanders and the final cobbled classic, the Paris-Roubaix, on the two following Sundays. Cancellara, 34, won the Tour of Flanders in 2010, 2013 and 2014 and Paris-Roubaix in 2006, 2010 and 2013.