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Ballan's comeback interrupted by continued pain

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Alessandro Ballan going back to the team cars.

Alessandro Ballan going back to the team cars. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Alessandro Ballan (BMC) crashed and then quit the race

Alessandro Ballan (BMC) crashed and then quit the race (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alessandro Ballan in relaxed mood

Alessandro Ballan in relaxed mood (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Former road world champion Alessandro Ballan is facing another surgery as a result of last December's training crash which left him with internal injuries and a broken femur. The BMC rider returned to competition in June, but had continued abdominal pain, and will go under the knife to remove adhesions from previous surgeries, according to team medical officer Dr. Max Testa.

Ballan crashed at high speed in training on December 20, 2012, and was hospitalized for several weeks, during which time his spleen was removed. He had another surgery in February to remove similar adhesions as well as his appendix.

After six months away from competition, he started at the GP du Canton d'Argovie in June, but then dropped out of the Tour de Wallonie last month due to the pain.

"He's been having reoccurring issues with his health and we hope this surgery finally brings an end to it," Testa said. "He spent two days in a hospital in Belgium undergoing observation and we eventually cleared him to return to racing. But further investigation has determined he will need surgery to release the adhesions on his abdomen developed after the previous surgeries."

Ballan is determined to get through his latest medical crisis and confident the surgery will be the solution. "I am strong and I know after this last surgery I will be as healthy before. This experience has brought me closer to my family and friends and will make me stronger in life as well," he said.

The Italian has the support of BMC's general manager Jim Ochowicz. "We certainly missed Alessandro in the spring classics and we were hoping he would be healthy by this time," Ochowicz said. "We wish him a speedy recovery and know he is in the best of care."

The team will set a timeline for Ballan's return after the surgery is performed in the next few weeks.