Out: Lleyton Hewitt. Photo: Jesse Marlow Broken collarbone: SImon Gerrans. Photo: Rupert Guinness
Australia’s Olympic hopes have received a double blow with cyclist Simon Gerrans officially ruled out of Rio with a broken collarbone and Lleyton Hewitt’s withdrawal as coach of the men’s tennis team for “personal reasons”.
Gerrans, considered a strong medal prospect in the road race event, underwent surgery over the weekend on a broken collarbone suffered in a crash at the Tour de France.
Facing a battle against time, the 36-year-old held out hopes of competing in Rio on the tricky, cobble-stoned course, but Australia Olympic Committee officials were informed on Sunday morning his attempt to ride at a third Olympics was now over.
Gerrans flew from France to Barcelona late last week and was operated on over the weekend.
After he woke up, he posted on Twitter an X-Ray of his collarbone, showing off the new screws in place. He tweeted: “My new hardware… The surgery went as well as we could hope. Now it’s time to put a plan in place.”My new hardware… The surgery went as well as we could hope. Now it’s time to put a plan in place. #tdf2016pic.twitter杭州龙凤419m/cxJFy2XPwN— Simon Gerrans (@simongerrans) July 16, 2016
He later released a statement confirming his withdrawal.
“I am a proud Australian and as an athlete there is no greater honour than representing your country at the Olympic Games,” he said. “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.”
The Orica-BikeExchange veteran crashed heavily during Stage 12 of the Tour. He kept on riding but was later forced to leave the race.
There was much hope Gerrans — renowned for being a tough competitor — would fight back and compete in Rio.
Cycling Australia chief executive Nick Green told Fairfax Media on Friday: “Before we have all the information on where Simon is at, he’s a member of the Olympic team. Unfortunately, he’s a member of the team with a broken collarbone.” That’s the end of my #tdf2016 I can’t find words to describe how disappointed I am. pic.twitter杭州龙凤419m/DgsyxHRYpT— Simon Gerrans (@simongerrans) July 14, 2016