Amanda Spratt will not represent Australia at the elite women's road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Imola, Italy, on Saturday, as the 33-year-old is still recovering from the concussion she sustained in a crash at the Giro Rosa just over a week ago.
The Mitchelton-Scott rider – who took the bronze medal in the 2019 road race, and silver the year before – will be replaced in the squad by Canyon-SRAM's Tiffany Cromwell, a Cycling Australia press release confirmed on Thursday.
Spratt crashed in the sprint at the end of stage 7 of the Giro Rosa, along with Mitchelton-Scott teammate Annemiek van Vleuten, who was leading the race, and was also forced to quit with a broken wrist. The Dutchwoman will decide on Friday whether she can still take part in Saturday's road race, using a splint to support her wrist.
Due to her head injury, Spratt has no option of using any kind of crutch or splint to allow her to race, and must now simply wait.
"Right now, it feels pretty devastating that I'm not well enough to be able to race the Worlds. My shoulder is recovering well, but unfortunately my concussion still needs some time," Spratt said.
"The Worlds was a huge target, so it's hard to come to terms with knowing the form was exactly where it needed to be," she continued. "But at the same time, I'm grateful that I have a team around me that prioritises my health and wellbeing.
"Even though I won't be on the start line, I still feel like part of the Aussie team, and I can't wait to support and cheer for the team on Saturday," Spratt added. "It's a really tough and technical course, so I think it can still suit our riders well, so I only wish every bit of success to the girls.
"My previous Worlds success would not have been possible without all of their support, so it will be exciting to see chances taken this year to go for a result," she said.
"2020 has definitely been full of challenges, but I know I can bounce back stronger with some time."
Cromwell – who finished fifth at the 2014 Worlds road race in Ponferrada, Spain – took to social media on Thursday to wish Spratt all the best as she recovers.
"I have some pretty big shoes to fill," Cromwell wrote on Twitter. "But I'm grateful for the opportunity to step in for Amanda Spratt for this weekend's World Championships. Looking forward to joining up with the Australian cycling team. Wishing all the best for a speedy recovery to 'Spratty'!"
I have some pretty big shoes to fill. But I’m grateful for the opportunity to step in for @AmandaSpratt for this weekends World Championships. Looking forward to joining up with the @AusCyclingTeam. Wishing all the best for a speedy recovery to Spratty! https://t.co/I8Eq4ywabSSeptember 24, 2020