Fort Bayard, New Mexico – Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team's Jonny Brown did not start Stage 2 of the Tour of the Gila Thursday due to injuries sustained in a crash on Wednesday.
Brown went down when another rider overlapped wheels with him with 10 kilometers left in the opening stage. He landed hard on his right wrist and elbow. X-rays revealed no fractures. But the injuries were significant enough to keep him from starting on Thursday, which is also his 20th birthday.
"I have had some pretty sad birthdays, but this might top it," Brown said. "We had decided last night to wait until this morning to make a decision on starting. I tried to ride around the parking lot and couldn't even hold the bars because things were so swollen and stiff. I am very disappointed because I was feeling pretty good yesterday," he added. "Now it is kind of unknown how long I am going to be out. I am definitely disappointed."
Axeon Hagens Berman Sport Director Jeff Louder said the Austin, Texas, resident will be missed the remaining four days of the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour event, but his health comes first.
"The guys are sad to lose a strong teammate, but otherwise morale is good and they are focused on the task at hand," Louder said. "We have plenty of solid options and we are looking forward to the rest of the race."
Axeon Hagens Berman is now down to five riders after starting two short of the maximum eight. The team's best finisher on Wednesday, Christopher Blevins in 12th, is wearing the "best young rider" jersey for Thursday's 122.6-km stage that starts and finishes in Fort Bayard.
Header photo by Davey Wilson.