Dan Martin finished 6th in this year’s Tour de France despite breaking his spine in two places.
The 30-year-old Quick-Step Floors rider crashed on stage nine of the race and carried on unaware.
He admitted on Friday the extent of injuries was a ‘surprise’following his collision with Richie Porte of BMC which led to Porte pulling out.
Incredibly, Martin then rode a week through the Alps, staying seated throughout because of the pain he was suffering, but still completed his best-ever Tour finish, four minutes and 42 seconds behind winner Chris Froome.
Martin’s Quick-Step Floors team announced on Thursday that a post-Tour medical examination revealed that he had fractures to the L2 and L3 vertebrae in his lower back.
Diagnosis of 2 small fracture took me by surprise. Shows how powerful the mind is in pushing through. No wonder I couldn’t stand up straight https://t.co/lODIGlLueF
— Dan Martin (@DanMartin86) July 27, 2017
Martin insisted: ‘During the Tour I didn’t have any problems when racing but off the bike I wasn’t feeling very comfortable, so this week I did a scan and got the news.’
He has now been forced to withdraw from the Clásica de San Sebastián on Saturday and rest for three weeks.
He added: ‘It’s a real pity I won’t ride San Sebastian, because the legs were there and it’s a race I like but fortunately this injury isn’t something to worry about.
‘In order to tackle my future goals in good condition, it’s better to take a break and give the fracture time to heal. There’s nothing else I can do, just rest and then build up for the final part of the season.’
Martin’s Tour de France team-mate Jack Bauer tweeted: ‘Just a 6th place in the @LeTour GC with 2 fractures in his back. No biggy. Strong bro, real strong!’