Aussie star Vine won't need surgery after horror crash

Australian cycling star Jay Vine will not have to have surgery on the spine injuries he suffered when falling heavily in a horror crash at the Itzulia Basque Country race.

His UAE Team Emirates medical director Dr Adrian Rotunno reported on Saturday that last year's Tour Down Under winner Vine would remain in hospital and would be in a neck brace for up to six weeks.

But after suffering what the team described as “a cervical and two thoracic spine vertebral body fractures” in Thursday's crash in northern Spain, there had been initial fears that the 28-year-old would need to be operated on.

"After examining MRI and final clinical assessment, thankfully no surgery will be necessary for Jay. The fractures are stable enough not to warrant surgical correction," Rotunno said in a team statement. 

"Jay will remain in hospital over the following days to allow for ongoing observations and further recovery. He will be in a neck brace for up to six weeks but will be able to start with general body rehab from next week."

Vine looked to have come off worst of the dozen who fell in the mass crash which caused other luminaries, including double Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard and double world champion Remco Evenepoel, to also suffer serious injuries.

After the Canberra rider had slid at high speed on a descent into a concrete ditch at the side of a road, he lay motionless while being treated and TV pictures left his wife Bre, a former cyclist herself, fearing the worst.

But she says that Vine is a fighter who will bounce back from a setback that may have completely scuppered his Olympic hopes for 2024.

The accident left few with any appetite for the rest of the week-long race, but the show had to go on, with Spain's Juan Ayuso taking overall victory on Saturday's sixth and final stage around Eibar.

Ayuso, the rising star of Spanish cycling, started the stage just four seconds behind overnight leader Mattias Skjelmose, but ended up winning by 42 seconds over stage winner Carlos Rodríguez. Denmark's Skjelmose completed the podium.

The leading Australian was 2022 Giro d'Italia winner Jai Hindley, who finished 12th, 3min 19sec adrift of Ayuso.

In the day's other big race, the Paris-Roubaix Femmes 'Hell of the North' over the cobbles was won by women's world champion Lotte Kopecky, who prevailed in a sprint in the famed Roubaix velodrome from five rivals.

Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek) was second while Pfeiffer Georgi (DSM-Firmenich PostNL) pipped the great Marianne Vos (Team Visma-Lease a Bike) for third.

Canyon/SRAM Racing's Tiffany Cromwell was the first Australian home in 24th.

The men's race takes place on Sunday with Mathieu van der Poel out to retain his title and make it a golden double after winning last week's Tour of Flanders.

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