By Mark Zalewski, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Aussie Karl Menzies (Health Net-Maxxis) was unhappy with his personal performance in the first half of the season. However, he told Cyclingnews at two recent races, the CSC Invitational and the Lehigh Valley Classic where he placed on both podiums, that he was relieved his racing form was finally coming around. Well bad luck struck the strong man from Tasmania. Coming down one of the three KOM climbs of Mt. Penn in the Reading Classic last week, part of the Commerce Bank Triple Crown, Menzies was taken out by a crash in front of him – landing on his back over a curb he suffered a broken wrist and ribs, a punctured lung and injuries to his back.
"The second time over the hill it was all single file and I was towards the back," Menzies told Cyclingnews. "A guy in front of me went through the corner and hit something, skipping out into the gutter. As I recall I came in a guy or two back and had to change my line, jammed on my back brake, but my wheel hit a pothole, so when I jammed on the brake it flicked my rear straight up. I went up and over and landed on my back over the gutter"
"I got up straight away but knew I was in trouble because I had that feeling. I laid back down and Tamayo was right there and doctors were there – I was in hospital within 10 minutes. I have a broken wrist – the radius and navicular bones – five broken ribs and they said it was a punctured lung. They kept me overnight for observation but [the lung] healed by the next morning. My T-10 and T-11, where the muscles attach to the back, were pushed in. My back and ribs is where it just whacked the gutter, so it's mostly muscular."
While the wrist and rib fractures will heal in a few weeks, the injuries to his back are a little more tricky. "You have to be careful; the wrist will be in a cast so that will be okay, but the back... you have to give the muscles time to heal."
Menzies was understandably disappointed in the crash with his recent good form. "It's definitely a shame to miss out on some great racing, the finish of Reading and Philly, then Nature Valley and the crits – the list goes on from there. I missed Nature Valley last year and was looking forward to it; all was looking good with getting some form and getting the legs back."
As for when he will be back racing, Menzies hopes it will be before the end of the season. "I hopefully can do some crits and Tour of Missouri. It's going to be tight but we have a great doctor that works with the team. It's good to have a doctor's point of view who looks at the athlete's angle."