Armstrong Breaks Collarbone in Crash

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Lance Armstrong fractured his collarbone Monday during a race in Spain, leaving in question his participation in the Tour de France in July.

The seven-time Tour champion said he will fly to the United
States and meet with medical experts to decide whether he needs
surgery.

"We'll go from there," he said. "I think for the Tour it's a
very big problem."

In a statement released later Monday, the 37-year-old said he
had "been lucky to avoid one of the most common cycling injuries"
in his 17-year career.

"The crash has put my upcoming calendar in jeopardy, but the
most important thing for me right now is to get back home and rest
up and begin my rehab," Armstrong said.

Armstrong is scheduled to compete in the Giro d'Italia from May
9-May 31. The Tour runs July 4-26.

He was knocked off his bike during a pileup in the first stage
of the Vuelta of Castilla and Leon race and was taken to a hospital
by ambulance. The American, who crashed about 12.5 miles from the
stage's finish, was grimacing and trying to hold his right arm as
he entered the ambulance.

"The collarbone is broken, and I have a little bit of road-rash
abrasions," Armstrong said as he left Valladolid University
Hospital. "I've never had this happen before; it's pretty painful.
I feel really miserable."

Astana team leader Johan Bruyneel said on his Twitter feed that
there were no complications in the break, and suggested Armstrong
could be back riding soon.

"Clean collarbone fracture," Bruyneel said. "Should be fast
recovery."

After falling off his bike, Armstrong sat in the grass beside
the road, his right shoulder slumped and his wrist resting on his
right thigh. When help arrived, he motioned toward his right
shoulder. Armstrong eventually walked to the ambulance and climbed
into the back.

Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer described the pileup on his
Twitter feed.

"Lance was involved in a huge crash as the road narrowed and
became very rough," Leipheimer wrote. "He wasn't far from the
front, as he was riding top 10 all day."

Armstrong said the crash was no one's fault.

"Toward the end of the race people started getting excited, a
bit of wind, some hills and everybody wanting to be at the front,"
he said. "A couple of guys crashed in front of me, I crossed my
wheel, then I hit them and over the top."

After first being taken to the Rio Carrion hospital in Palencia,
Armstrong was taken to the hospital in Valladolid.

The 37-year-old is making a comeback to cycling and is riding
with the Astana team as he prepares for another possible shot at a
Tour de France title. The Vuelta of Castilla and Leon race was
Armstrong's first stage race in Europe since winning the 2005 Tour.

Armstrong started his comeback at the Tour Down Under in
Australia in January, where he finished 29th overall, 49 seconds
behind winner Allan Davis of Australia. He then finished seventh in
the Tour of California in February.

On Saturday, Armstrong raced in the Milan-San Remo cycling
classic and finished 125th, 8 minutes, 19 seconds behind winner
Mark Cavendish.

The mainly flat first stage of the Castilla and Leon covered 109
miles from Paredes de Nava to Baltanas. It was won by Joaquin
Sobrino Martinez of Burgos Monumental in 4 hours, 31 minutes, 53
seconds after a sprint finish. He was followed by David Vitoria of
Rock Racing and Jose Joaquin Rojas of Caisse d'Epargne.


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