Tour Down Under (st. 2)
Rojas diagnosed fractured scaphoid after completing Tuesday’s stage, becomes second Movistar Team withdrawal in Australia – Moreno (9th), Plaza stay up-front
The Movistar Team has been unable to find its best luck so far in the 2014 Tour Down Under. After Giovanni Visconti’s crash in the criterium leading up to the UCI WorldTour’s opening event, José Joaquín Rojas was unable to take the start on stage two -150km from Prospect to Stirling- this morning. The Spaniard fell just before the last kilometer on Tuesday, yet was able to complete stage one with no problems; however, pain suffered overnight in his right wrist concealed the worst news possible: a scaphoid fracture sidelined him from a race he’s always shone in during his eight participations. Rojas will fly back to Spain on Thursday to be operated in Murcia by the Dr. Francisco Esparza, the traumatologist who has taken care of him in previous injuries.
With one of their main references out of contention, the riders directed by José Luis Arrieta focused their efforts on backing Javi Moreno, who will have his first real shot at the GC on Thursday with the crucial Corkscrew Road ascent, just 7k from the finish in Campbelltown (145km in total). The Jaén-based rider took 9th in the uphill sprint -with Imanol Erviti proving yet again the Blues’ bad luck with a crash, unfortunately with no consequences- behind Italian Diego Ulissi (LAM), with no time loss against ochre jersey holder Simon Gerrans (OGE), now 21 seconds ahead of the Spaniard after taking 2nd today. Rubén Plaza (20th) stays in the fight, too.