Australian cyclist Paul Crake is recovering after undergoing surgery yesterday in New Zealand's Christchurch Hospital to stabilise spinal injuries he suffered in a crash during Saturday's stage of the Powernet Tour of Southland. The 29 year-old from Canberra was one of five cyclists blown off the road by a powerful wind gust as they headed into the final two kilometres of the 79 kilometre eighth stage from Te Anau to Lumsden last Saturday.
Scans revealed he had sustained minor fractures of the C1 and C2 cervical vertebrae, a fracture of the T5 thoracic vertebrae and dislocations through to T7, and it was decided that Crake should undergo surgery. ACT Cycling Federation president, Steve Blair, has been with Crake since the accident and says the doctors were happy with the outcome of the surgery.
"They didn't need to operate on his neck injuries as they are relatively minor fractures they believe will heal without their intervention but they have placed a surgical rod and screws into his thoracic spine and grafted some bone from his hip into the spinal area to stabilise and realign his spine," commented Blair.
"He is back in the Intensive Care Unit recovering from the operation and it could be up to six weeks before he's able to be transferred from hospital to a spinal rehabilitation unit," Blair continued from New Zealand.
Crake was a member of the Australian team at the 2004 Road World Championships in Italy, was third in the road race at last year's Australian Open Road Championships and this year placed second on the fourth stage of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under into Willunga. This season he has raced as a professional in Italy with the Naturino-Sapore di Mare.