Belgian cyclist Wout van Aert, the reigning Olympic road race silver medalist and a podium favorite for the Paris Games, crashed during the Dwars door Vlaanderen race Wednesday and fractured his collarbone along with several ribs.

The leader of the Visma-Lease a Bike team crashed in Belgium just ahead of the climb of Berg ten Houte along with Biniam Girmay of Intermarche-Wanty and Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven of Lidl-Trek. Van Aert was helped onto a stretcher and taken to the medical tent for X-rays, which revealed the extent of his injuries.

“It is unclear how long his recovery will take,” the Visma team said in a statement. "Van Aert will definitely miss the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and the Amstel Gold Race.”

Stuyven also appeared to hurt his collarbone in the crash, while Pedersen and Girmay did not appear to have major injuries.

Van Aert's teammate, Matteo Jorgenson of the U.S., went on to win Dwars door Vlaanderen with a solo attack from a breakaway.

Van Aert is widely considered one of the world's best and most versatile riders. The three-time cyclocross world champion is also the winner of 10 stages and the points classification at the Tour de France, along with the winner of such major races as Milan-San Remo, Strade Bianchi, Gent-Wevelgem and Amstel Gold.

Belgium has qualified the maximum four riders for the road race at the Paris Olympics, and two of those riders will take part in the time trial. Van Aert was on the long list released last fall along with Remco Evenepoel and several other stars.

Van Aert was planning to skip the Tour de France, which ends just before the Summer Games, so that he would be fresher for the Olympics. He instead planned to race the Giro d'Italia in May, though those plans are now in question after his crash.

During the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, van Aert was part of a chasing group trying to catch eventual winner Richard Carapaz at Fuji Speedway. But the group was more than a minute behind the Ecuadorian at the finish, and van Aert was left to out-sprint a group that included American rider Brandon McNulty and bronze medalist Tadej Pogacar for the silver medal.

Van Aert also competed in the individual time trial in Japan, finishing in sixth place but a mere 37 seconds out of the medals.

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