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2008 World Champion suffers multiple fractures, a punctured lung and has emergency surgery to remove spleen after crash on mountain descent

Team BMC rider Alessandro Ballan suffered serious injuries yesterday in a training ride crash while descending the Coll de Rates on the penultimate day of the team's pre-Christmas training camp in Spain.

In statement published on the BMC website the Italian rider suffered fractures to his leg and rib, a punctured lung and most seriously of all an injury to his spleen.

The 2008 World Road Race Champion was coming down the Coll de Rates climb near Parcent toward the end of a four-hour training ride when he crashed at high speed. According to his team, after being taken to a local hospital by BMC Racing Team Dr. Dario Spinelli, Ballan was diagnosed with a mid-shaft, displaced fracture of his left femur, a fracture of his ninth rib and some abdominal trauma. "The broken rib actually made a small puncture in his lung," Dr. Testa said. "The first priority is the spleen injury – that is considered a medical emergency." Ballan was undergoing surgery to remove his spleen Thursday night and a decision on when and where his broken leg can be operated on will come at a later time, Dr. Testa said.

After visiting Ballan in hospital BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said:

"Of course his loss means a lot since Alessandro is one of our key riders for the classics," Lelangue said. "But most important right now is that he can recover and just get back to his normal process. We'll wait for all the medical information before even beginning to think about what could be his plan for coming back."

Given the extent of injuries it is highly unlikely that Ballan will be back in action before next summer a blow not only for the rider but also for his team. The Italian was BMC's most consistent rider in the 2012 Spring Classics finishing 3rd at Paris Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders - a race he won in 2007 and in the top 10 at Milan San Remo.

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.

17 comments

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 3 years ago
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Terrible news.

Hope he has a smooth recovery.

Get well soon Alessandro.

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jdstrachan@yaho... [52 posts] 3 years ago
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Awful set of injuries - going to be a stressful Christmas for Alessandro, his family and the team.

Best wishes to him and his team.

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andyspaceman [244 posts] 3 years ago
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Ouch, really not good.

Off to the in-law's apartment in Javea next summer and am planning on riding that one. Caution noted...

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Rupert49 [40 posts] 3 years ago
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Know the road very well, coming off is easily done especially if it is wet, its fast and narrow with a big drop on one side and sharp rocks on the other and the odd hairpin bend.

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 3 years ago
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Get well soon, Alessandro.

Losing a spleen is nasty; he'll likely need a full set of vaccinations, and his team doctors will want him off the bike and onto antibiotics at the first sign of trouble - even for a cough or tickly sore throat. (At least, that's what I'd advise - sadly there's no such thing as a titanium spleen)...

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AWPeleton [3347 posts] 3 years ago
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Best wishes for a full recovery.

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 3 years ago
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hope you recover soon alesandro, poor guy

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ch [187 posts] 3 years ago
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Where was the airbag?

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skippy [409 posts] 3 years ago
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Sincere best wishes for a Speedy Recovery to " Al " , as i call him , when we met so often last year .

Always had a cheeky grin and treats ALL Tifosi as if they are part of the family .

When i first heard of the accident , i was under the impression that a vehicle was involved ? Guess " shit Happens " even to the best ?

What a disappointing way to spend the festive season , bed ridden and in pain ? Losing the Spleen must have some impact on his future health and thus his career .

Can remember riding with him , last April at Arco , after he had crossed the finish line , i didn't know that he was awaiting the result , for him it was , " just another race ", asked him how he went and got a shrug! He was the Winner !

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mandy [94 posts] 3 years ago
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Oh man what a way to spend christmas hope he gets better soon.

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Leviathan [2059 posts] 3 years ago
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What does the spleen do anyway? They were always whipping them out on ER. Isn't that taking being a weight weenie too far?

No, seriously, sounds rubbish, get better soon.

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nickobec [246 posts] 3 years ago
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Your spleen protects you from infection.

Mind was damaged but not ruptured in accident, have great scar were they checked the status of the spleen and was ready to remove it, but left it in.

Next couple of years, had colds that developed in pneumonia as my spleen recovered. Now perfectly health and no more problems with pneumonia

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russyparkin [570 posts] 3 years ago
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bad luck

hope hes good as soon as possible, decending is so risky. easy to forget where the limits are

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wingsofspeed68 [63 posts] 3 years ago
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Get well soon.

Wishing you a speedy recovery

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notfastenough [3695 posts] 3 years ago
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here's to a speedy recovery.

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 3 years ago
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An update I saw lastnight, Its looking like he's going to lose a Kidney aswell and is still in a medically induced coma....  20

NOT GOOD

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 3 years ago
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Latest update

Ballan successfully had double femur fracture surgery. Did not lose a kidney and is conscious