Lloyd breaks shoulder, injures back in training accident

Matthew Lloyd of Omega Pharma-Lotto has broken his shoulder and suffered spinal injuries in a crash last week in Melbourne, Australia. He is not expected to return to full training again until February.

Lloyd will undergo shoulder surgery on Thursday and be home the next day. He will begin physiotherapy ten days later. He lost consciousness and only came to in the ambulance.

"These things can always happen in the traffic or the most unlikely circumstances,’’ Lloyd said. “It was avoidable on anyone’s behalf,” he told sbs.com.au.

“They need to screw it back on or else I’ll have that syndrome where the arm keeps (dislocating).

"The procedure itself is a simple one from a bone structure perspective but you’ve just got to hope that all the ligaments and muscles are pretty much in tact so we’ll try and keep it that way.”

It is his second back injury, following damage to his lower back in a crash at the Amstel Gold Race in 2009. “There’s damage to two or three parts of the upper part of the spine, which is okay for me because I think last year I broke seven of the lower ones so I’m trying to spread it out a bit,’’ Lloyd said.

The X Rays show it’s (vertebrae) a bit buckled and twisted due to the swelling, but generally according to what (the doctors) said that can slowly repair itself and everything can come back together quite smoothly.

The long training pause, “could be, in a way, some kind of blessing in disguise because a lot of guys don’t get a chance to have forced recovery at this time of year because they have to start their programs,” he said.

Even with the delay in training, he expects to be fully fit again in May for the Giro d'Italia, where he hopes to repeat or top his successes of 2010. The Australian won the sixth stage in a solo effort, taking off from a breakaway group on the final climb 22 km from the finish line, and winning by over one minute. That gave him the mountains jersey, which he went on to win.

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