Alessandro Ballan continues to make progress in his recovery from serious injuries suffered in a crash last week at the BMC Racing Team training camp and is expected to be released from hospital and return to Italy in the new year.
The Italian's first race of the 2013 season should have been the Tour Down Under, January 20-27. His place on the squad to ride in Australia will be taken by Ivan Santaromita.
Ballan crashed on Thursday, December 20, suffering a broken left femur, broken rib and damaged spleen. His spleen was removed in emergency surgery that same day, and had surgery on the femur the next day.
He left the intensive care unit on Friday. "Every day I am getting better," he said in a team press release. "Now it's easy."
Ballan thanked his fans for the many messages and encouragement he has received.
"I am very happy because I have a lot of supporters, not only in Italy, but around the world. A lot of people are thinking of me in this moment and I am very happy and appreciative of all of them," he said.
Whilst the former World champion is improving, he still has a long way to go. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Ballan will not be able to train seriously for three months.
“The doctors who are overseeing his care at the hospital saw enough improvement that he's been moved to a regular care room," team doctor Max Testa said. "What's good is that he continues to get better each day and there have been no complications from the surgeries."