Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli will be out of action for up to eight weeks after
fracturing cerebral vertebrae in a training accident earlier
this month, according to his Team Telekom.
The Italian was first diagnosed with a broken nose and hand after being knocked over by a motorcycle in Tenerife on 15 February.
But further tests said he had also broken two
Savoldelli, 29, joined Team Telekom this season from the
Index Alexia team.
Team-mate Mario Aerts was also injured in the crash, suffering bruising and cuts.
Savoldelli had been expected to make his first major outing of the season in the Tour of Valencia on 25 February.
But he could still defend his pink jersey in the Giro in May.
After winning the race last year, Savoldelli had said: "At 16, I asked myself what I could expect later in my life.
"I could never imagine racing in the Giro and having the pink jersey. For an Italian racer that is a dream."