Gigante on the mend after crash at La Flèche Wallonne Feminine
April 23, 2021
Sarah Gigante is recovering after an early crash put an end to her efforts at Wednesday's Flèche Wallonne. The 20-year-old had a successful collarbone surgery today, and is estimated to be fully healed from her clavicle, elbow and fibula fractures in six weeks. "I flipped over someone's bike and went right over the handlebars," Gigante said. "I've already had surgery on my collarbone, so that's on the mend, and my elbow and fibula will heal naturally. It shouldn't be too long before I am back on the road. I'm being taken very good care of by my team and support network in the meantime."
Sarah Gigante has her radio adjusted before the Amstel Gold Race. Photo/Twila Muzzi
After the crash, the Australian time trial champion courageously spent almost 10km chasing her way back into the peloton before the extent of her injuries forced her to call it a day.
"I am absolutely amazed at Sarah’s tenacity and spirit,” Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank Founder Linda Jackson said. "I woke up early Wednesday morning to be told that Sarah had crashed and broken several bones. I found out later that she had successfully chased back up to the front group with three broken bones before succumbing to the pain. Her enthusiasm and spirit are uplifting. She’s a fighter and she’ll be back this season. We are wishing her the speediest of recoveries." Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank's soigneur, Sara Pearse, who is also a clinical kinesiologist, licensed massage and bodywork therapist, and owner of Aspire Sports Therapies said, "she absolutely made the right decision to have surgery immediately."
Gigante's leg shows no sign of ligament damage, according to the postoperative report. It has small hairline fractures at the head of the fibula and about 3 cm distal. The two cracks are stabilized by strong ligaments that effectively splint the injury while it heals without any other treatment.
The elbow broke on the radial plateau, a small flat place where the thumb-side of the forearm articulates with the elbow bone (ulnar olecranon process). It's also stabilized by strong ligaments, and should heal quickly.
"It will take all three injuries (clavicle, fibula, radius) about two weeks to heal," Pearse said. "She can ride the trainer in the next few days as pain allows. Then she can get back on the bike outdoors, and as long as everything progresses according to plan, she should be fully cleared and recovered in six weeks."
Gigante (behind red car) chases the bunch after her crash at Flèche Wallonne. Photo/Tornanti.cc
"It is obviously a huge shame to not have Sarah in the team for Liege-Bastogne-Liege, a race which would have really suited her strengths, but it's good that she has had great care and will be back again very soon," sports director Rachel Hedderman said.
Nina Kessler will replace Gigante for the final race of Ardennes week, Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
"We have brought Nina in for Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and while she is obviously a very different rider to Sarah, having her experience on the team will be a big asset as we look to finish the spring block off with a flourish," Hedderman added.
Liege-Bastogne-Liege tops off the "Ardennes Triple." Sunday's Women's World Tour event will be another vigorous test in the hilly region around Wallonia, featuring famous climbs like the Côte de La Redoute, Côte de la Roche aux faucons, and Côte de Saint-Nicolas.
The race will be broadcast on GCN+ for European and Asian-Pacific audiences and Flobikes for Canadian and Australian fans. Liege-Bastogne-Liege will be broadcast on NBC Gold in the U.S. Check the websites for viewing times in your country.