By Shane Stokes
Promising English rider Tom Southam is expected to have an operation today to pin the scaphoid bone he broke in his left wrist on Saturday. The Team Barloworld-Valsir rider suffered the same injury as that which befell Stefano Zanini in the big crash in the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen.
Southam flew back to England for treatment, although because of the Easter holidays there it was not possible to have the operation over the weekend. "I hope to have it done on Tuesday. If I don't get it pinned, it is going to take eight weeks to heal," he told Cyclingnews.
"Once it is done, I think I will be out of action for three or four weeks. I will be on the indoor trainer in a couple of days, and hope to be back racing again at the start of May. I'd like to come back in time for the CSC Classic in Denmark."
Southam described how the crash happened. "There was a big island in the middle of the road. I was in the middle of the group and everyone just closed in suddenly. A few guys went down and then everyone just piled into them. Zanini broke his scaphoid and two guys broke their collarbones, so there were bodies all over the place. It was a real big crash.
"I am pretty disappointed, really. It was a stupid crash caused by other people that I ended up getting caught up in. It wasn't as if it was my doing, that I was taking any risks to win something.
"It is particularly annoying because I did the same thing to the other hand at the back end of last year. I went down in the Coppa Sabatini last year. It was the same type of crash, riders not paying attention in the bunch. It is annoying. There are 200 odd guys there, but some of them obviously need to sharpen up a little bit."
Southam has had a solid start to his first season with Barloworld, posting rides such as thirteenth place in the TT at the Tour de Langkawi. The 23 year old has been living and training close to Madrid, and feels he was coming into good form at the time of the crash.
"I was going well on Wednesday in the GP Waregem. But my luck this week has just been out. When we got to the Eikenberg, where the race started being decided, I was about fifteenth wheel. But I punctured halfway up it. That was a real disappointment, because I was going well there and was in the right place at the crucial moment.
"A day later, I crashed in training. It was just a small crash but I ended up in a field and got covered in sh*t. Literally covered in it. And then the next day I came down and broke my hand. So it is disappointing to have that bad luck just when my form is getting going."
He is, however, keeping optimistic about things. "I don't think it is going to be too much of a setback. If anything, maybe I will just freshen up and come back a bit stronger," he said.