Team BMC rider Alessandro Ballan is out of intensive care following serious injuries sustained in a training ride crash while descending the Coll de Rates before Christmas.
More than a week ago he underwent surgery to repair his broken left leg and remove his spleen. He also suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung.
The 33-year-old 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.
"Every day I am getting better. Now it's easy," 2008 world champion Ballan said in a statement from his hospital bed, according to Eurosport.
"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."
BMC chief medical officer Max Testa said no release date has yet been established for Ballan, who had been due to ride at the Tour Down Under in Australia from Jan. 20-27 and has been replaced by Ivan Santaromita.
"The doctors who are overseeing his care at the hospital saw enough improvement that he's been moved to a regular care room. There have been no complications from the surgeries," said Testa.
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, " he added at the time.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.