News & Politics

Lance Armstrong’s Comeback Fractures in Spain

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The Times crossed its fingers earlier today, hoping against hope that
news of Lance Armstrong’s crash and injury in Spain didn’t result in a
fracture.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Cyclingnews.com is now reporting
that Armstrong’s collarbone was fractured after a spill today on the
first day of a five-day stage race, the Vuelta Castilla y León.

Fractured collarbones are extremely common in cycling, and Armstrong’s
will keep him out of action for quite a while — four to six weeks, the site reports. If that’s the case, he’d still get back in time for Italy’s grand tour, the Giro, in May, one of his main goals for the season. But will he still be in the kind of shape he needs to win it?

The accident only makes us marvel at what incredible good luck
Armstrong had during his 7-year mastery of the Tour de France. The kind
of spill he took today is all too common in the sport — jockeying for
position before a mass sprint, riders bump wheels or knock elbows, and
one person goes down, creating a chain reaction. Year after year,
Armstrong avoided those problems.

But this time, he wasn’t so lucky.

UPDATE: Cyclingnews.com has more details now after Lance spoke with reporters. The crash occurred after a group broke away from the main pack about 17 kilometers from the end of today’s race, and when the main pack began scrambling to keep up on narrow roads, causing about 30 riders to go down.

“I think the whole peloton freaked out and people were doing dumb moves
to try not to get dropped. That’s what I bet caused the crash,” Armstrong said.

Doctors report that the fracture was a clean break of the collarbone, which is good news for recovery. Armstrong is flying home and will consider surgery. As the Times points out, this injury not only puts his Giro in doubt, but also will have repurcussions for the Tour in July.

Uncharacteristically, Armstrong has said nothing yet about the injury on his twitter feed, where he so obsessively reports on the developments of his training days.

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