Martyn Irvine (Aqua Blue Sport) has been forced to withdraw from the Baloise Belgium Tour (2.HC) following a crash on today’s opening 178-kilometre stage from Lochristi to Knokke-Heist.

The 2013 World Scratch Race Champion suffered a hairline fracture of his right hip. He was treated at University Hospital Ghent having arrived there by race ambulance.

Irvine is now recovering at the team hotel and will travel back to Ireland tomorrow, according to a statement from his team.

He said: “I am very disappointed and I am sad to leave the race so early. The doctors have said to me that I should be recovered hopefully after five or six weeks of rest. I just want to thank the team, the medical staff on the race, the staff of University Hospital Gent and the many people who have sent me messages.”

Today’s stage was won in a sprint finish by Coquard Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) with Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal) in second and Daniel McLay (Fortuneo – Vital Concept) third. The race continues tomorrow with a 199-kilometre stage from Knokke-Heist to Moorslede.



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