Telenet Fidea Lions’ Toon Aert’s best-ever season came to a crashing end at the 2017 Fiuggi UCI Cyclocross World Cup on Sunday with a dramatic tumble over the bars and into a tree:
— Cyclocross Magazine (@cyclocross) January 15, 2017
Aerts was taken to a local hospital, where the worst was confirmed today by the rider himself on Joe FM radio: a broken collarbone (clavicle) and a complex fracture of the scapula, instantly ending the 2016 UEC European Continental Champion’s season.
— Aerts Toon (@ToAerts) January 16, 2017
“This is the worst time to fall into a season,” Aerts said on his team website (translated). “Just before the World Championships and just before a lot of nice races still to come. This sucks, really sucks, because I was just doing well and I worked very hard last summer, also in view of the World Championships. I wanted to go to the World Championships.”
Aerts is especially disappointed as his form showed he was ready to try to match Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel in the top races, and he just missed the making the 2016 Cyclocross World Championship team in Zolder.
— Telenet Fidea Lions (@TFLions) January 17, 2017
“This sucks, really sucks, because I was just doing well and I worked very hard last summer, also in view of the World Championships” -Toon Aerts
The season-ending fracture is also a blow to the Belgian Worlds team, as Aerts was an automatic qualifier for the Worlds team and vacates a spot that cannot be filled, reducing the Belgian team from eight to seven riders for the 2017 World Championships in Luxembourg.
We wish Aerts a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing the Belgian mix it up with the world’s best at the (expected) American World Cups next season.
The other serious crash, Alice Maria Arzuffi’s tumble over the fencing, thankfully proved to be less serious. See her update here.