- Article published:
- March 23, 2009, 0:00 GMT
- Gregor Brown with additional reporting from Peter Hymas
By Gregor Brown with additional reporting from Peter Hymas Lance Armstrong crashed and fractured his...
Will head home to recover, decide on surgery
By Gregor Brown with additional reporting from Peter Hymas
Lance Armstrong crashed and fractured his right collarbone today in the opening day of the Castilla y León stage race in Spain. The American of team Astana retired from the stage via an ambulance to a hospital in Valladolid.
Astana Team doctor Pedro Celaya confirmed the injury. "Lance suffered a fracture of the middle third of the right collarbone as well as some bruises on his right hip and arm."
Armstrong, 37, was in the main group near kilometre 160 of the 176.3-kilometres stage from Paredes De Nava to Baltanás. His group was going at a fast pace over narrow roads in pursuit of the four-man escape. He came down with a group of around 30 riders.
"Two riders crashed in front of me and I was not able to avoid them," Armstrong said to La Gazzetta dello Sport Luigi Perna. "It the first time in my career I fractured my collarbone and I can tell you it hurts a lot."
Doctors verified that it is a clean fracture, meaning his recovery should be quick. Armstrong has made contact with specialists in the United States, and will return home to the States to make a decision as to whether or not he will have surgery to correct the break.
"In 17 years as a pro I have been lucky to avoid one of the most common cycling injuries. The crash has put my upcoming calendar in jeopardy but the most important thing for me right now is to get back home and rest up and begin my rehab," said Armstrong.
Armstrong is preparing for the Giro d'Italia, May 9 to 31, and the Tour de France, July 4 to 26. He returned to the sport this year after a three-year retirement following his seventh Tour de France win.
"This is racing. Give me a few days to think about what I have to do. I am upset, it is a big problem ahead of the Giro...