Lance Armstrong's Astana team this afternoon confirmed that he had indeed broken his collarbone in a crash in today's first stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. However, the break is a clean one and not a displaced fracture so the healing process should be fairly straight forward and his season, which for a while looked to be in jeopardy, could be back on track in as little as 4-6 weeks. If all goes to plan that schedule would see him make the start of the Giro D'Italia on 9 May.
Armstrong who started the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon today after riding Milan San Remo on Saturday was involved in a mass pile up involving 12 other riders some 20Km from the end of the stage. The crash, on what were described by teamate Levi Leipheimer as rough roads, left him lying in a ditch for some minutes by the side of the road. Eventually he was able to make his way under his own steam to a waiting ambulance.
Armstrong is due to compete in the Giro D'Italia in May and the Tour de France in July a double he has never before attempted, the layout of the Giro route was one many thought would favour him. Although doubt was this weekend cast on whether he will finish the Giro due to the imminent arrival of his next child - he will at least want to start it not least because one of his reasons for riding in Italy is to promote cancer awareness as championed by his LiveStrong Foundation. Amongst other things he is due to meet Italy's Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, (himself a cancer survivor) to discuss the fight against cancer in Italy.
Quotes from Lance Armstrong in Astana press release
Additional Comments from Lance Armstrong from Hospital Clínico Universitario of Valladolid where a fracture of the middle third of the right collar bone was diagnosed:
- How did the crash happen?
“At the end of the race, people started to get a bit excited to win the race. Everybody wanted to be in the front and couple of guys crashed in front of me, crossed the wheels and I hit them over the top. It happens quick when it happens. It could have been worse, I suppose. I have road rash abrasions on right hip and arm but the big problem is the broken collarbone. I never had this before. It is pretty painful. Now we must have to see how it heals. I will go back to the US and there we will decide on surgery.”
- You must be very disappointed. Is the Giro participation in jeopardy?
“I am very disappointed. Very. Especially for the Giro. Now the biggest problem is the pain. It hurts. We will see. The guys in the hospital in Valladolid were great and very nice and helpful. But now I feel miserable. I need to relax a couple of days, fix the problem and make a plan. I hope I can tell you more about the Giro in a week.”
- You almost never crash.
“I was thinking the same thing in the hospital that this never happened
in my 17 years of pro cycling. That’s cycling. It’s nobody’s fault. Crashes happen all the time. It is part of the job.”
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.