Lance Armstrong crashed hard in Monday’s opening stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y León and was transported by ambulance to a hospital in nearby Palencia, Spain.
Race organizers and the Astana team doctor confirmed that the seven-time Tour de France champion had broken his right collarbone after Armstrong underwent an X-ray at a hospital in the city of Valladolid.
“Lance suffered a fracture of the middle third of the right collarbone as well as some bruises on his right hip and arm,” said team doctor Pedro Celaya, who was with Armstrong at the hospital.
Armstrong left the hospital Monday evening and said he was “miserable.”
“It has never happened before, I feel very disappointed,” he told reporters as he left the hospital. “I feel miserable right now so I have to relax a few days.”
He nodded when asked if he would return to the United States, telling reporters his participation in the Giro d’Italia in May “will be very complicated.”
Lance Armstrong was extremely lucky during his career … sure, he crashed a few times, but the most serious injury he had was a minor fracture in a vertebra while training for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney; he was still able to compete, and finished third in the time trial that year; it seems that all those years of good luck are coming back to haunt him, as he has crashed in consecutive stages during the Amgen Tour of California earlier this year.
Of course, Armstrong’s most memorable crash was on the stage to Luz Ardiden in the 2003 Tour de France, when he hooked a musette being held by a spectator and crashed; while chasing to get back on the lead group, he slipped a pedal and just about crushed his one remaining testicle on his top tube. Of course, he also went on to win not only that stage, but his 5th (of 7) consecutive Tours de France.
So, he has just about 3 1/2 months until the beginning of the Tour de France, which shouldn’t be a problem. His injury, however, will likely put a crimp in his plans to race the Giro d’Italia. Hopefully he’ll be able to return fairly quickly and ride himself back into shape during the Giro.
Yeah … I’m starting to get a little bit of the old Lance Armstrong fanboy back; after a half-decade of disgust, it’s time to let some of it go.