Aussie Focus

Broken back wont stop Aussie Clarke from reaching Tour de France finish line

It will take a lot to stop Simon Clarke (Qhubeka-Nexthash) from finishing this year’s Tour de France.

Not even a broken back will deny the Aussie from making it to Paris.

The 34-year-old is riding in his sixth Tour de France, this time with South African based team Qhubeka-Nexthash, but it has been far from free sailing after he suffered an injury in a serious crash on Stage 3.

While he has battled through severe pain to complete stage after stage, Clarke was unaware of how severe his injuries truly were.

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Team doctors confirmed ahead of Stage 15 that the Melbourne product had suffered a fracture in the L4 vertebrae of his spine with the gruelling mountain stages taking an almighty toll.

"It's painful, yeah," Clarke confirmed. "It's a stable fracture so I'm not doing any damage to it and I can push through it but I can't wait until Paris, to be honest.

"It's reduced everything. You haven't seen a whole lot of me in this Tour de France because I haven't been able to put the power down.

"I can do medium power without putting too much strain on my back, but when we have to push hard, for example, yesterday up that first climb when the breakaway still hadn't gone away, that's when it puts me under pressure.

"Until yesterday I've been able to get through it OK but yesterday was a grim day for me."



Clarke has two difficult days ahead with consecutive summit finishes in the Pyrenees before two flat stages and a time trial.

He revealed his determination to battle on through such immense pain to stay in the race comes purely from his passion for the sport.

“Because I love this. I'm not here because I get paid to do it, I'm here because I love it,” Clarke said.

"I can still ride. It's not pretty, but why not keep going? We'll look back when I retire and I don't want to say, 'well, why would I just throw the towel in like that?' Why not go to Paris?"


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2 min read
Published 14 July 2021 at 11:39pm
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS