• Simon Gerrans is in a race to be fit for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (AAP)Source: AAP
Australian road coach Bradley McGee has some idea of what Simon Gerrans is going through as he copes with a broken collarbone before the Rio Olympics.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
AAP
17 Jul 2016 - 7:24 AM  UPDATED 17 Jul 2016 - 3:09 PM

UPDATE: Simon Gerrans has ruled himself out of Rio.

He informed Team Officials that he would not recover from his injuries in time for the Games and withdrew from the Team.

“I am a proud Australian and as an athlete there is no greater honour than representing your country at the Olympic Games.

"Following my crash in stage 12 of the Tour de France resulting in a broken clavicle, with enormous regret I would like to inform you of my decision to withdraw from the Australian team for the Rio Olympic Games.

My goal at the Olympic Games was to get the best result possible for Australia. With my current injury my preparation would be seriously jeopardised, and so to my performance at the Games. For Australia to have the best chance to achieve the best result possible, I feel I should be replaced by one of the riders in the squad” he said.

Cycling Australia has indicated it will choose a replacement for Simon and nominate that athlete to the AOC for selection later in the week.

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Australian cycling coach Brad McGee knows from personal experience not to rush the call on whether Simon Gerrans rides at the Rio Olympics.

Gerrans's place in the road team is in jeopardy thanks to the broken collarbone he suffered in the Tour de France.

The two-time Olympian crashed two days ago in stage 12, which finished with the chaos on Mt Ventoux.

Gerrans managed to finish the stage, but soon left the race and was due to have surgery on Saturday afternoon (AEST) in Barcelona.

A call will be made on his spot in the road team in the wake of that operation.

McGee, the Australian men's Olympic road coach, famously also suffered a broken collarbone just a fortnight before his individual pursuit ride on the track at the Sydney Olympics.

He had surgery, but still managed to win the bronze medal with a metal plate in his shoulder.

"It was a stupid training accident," McGee said of his injury. "When I was lying in the gutter, I was thinking 'it's all over'. To turn it around, it was considerable.

"Look, it's very early days, all respect goes to Gerro; we'll see what happens."

McGee quickly pointed out there was a big difference between recovering from a broken collarbone for a 4km pursuit on a velodrome, and recuperating in time to ride in a 200km-plus road race.

McGee will have the final say, but Gerrans is renowned for his professionalism and, if he says he can be ready, that would also be a significant factor in the decision.

Still, broken collarbones are so common among professional bike riders, they are regarded in the sport as an occupational hazard.

Gerrans has had several and this latest crash continues his run of appalling luck.

A series of crashes cruelled his racing season last year - including a broken wrist on stage three that forced him to pull out of the Tour.

This is the third-straight Tour de France where a crash has forced Gerrans' early withdrawal.

He hit the deck in a high-speed tangle with English sprint ace Mark Cavendish at the end of stage one two years ago and, eventually, his injuries forced him out of that race as well.

Gerrans, Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis were the original selections for the Rio road team, with a fourth rider likely to be drafted from track or mountain bike in a domestique role.

McGee said there was no rush to make the call on Gerrans and it could wait until around the end of the Tour on July 24.

He said the road team was picked from a long squad of eight or nine riders and, if Gerrans dropped out, his replacement would come from them.

"All the blokes on our long list are exceptional riders," McGee said.