Seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's broken collarbone could take an estimated eight to 12 weeks to heal, jeopardizing his chances of participating in the 'Giro d'Italia'. He was injured in a fall during Spain's Vuelta Castilla y Leon.
AFP - Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong was recovering Wednesday after surgery to repair his collarbone, which was broken into four pieces in a crash in Spain on Monday.
In an article posted on Armstrong's Astana team website, doctor Doug Elenz, the orthopedic surgeon who performed the procedure in Austin, Texas, said it wasn't yet clear when Armstrong would be able to return to racing.
The cyclist himself said Tuesday night that he hadn't ruled out a return in time for the Giro d'Italia in May, with the Tour de France still in his sights.
"Normally we see eight to 12 weeks for something like this to heal completely," Elenz said, but added that Armstrong could be back in action before that, depending on his progress.
Elenz and his team repaired the injury with a five inch stainless steel plate with 12 screws.
Armstrong was expected to be back at his home in Austin on Wednesday evening. He is then supposed to rest for a week, after which he can begin aerobic training on a stationary bike.
On the eve of the procedure, the 37-year-old Armstrong said he believed the Giro was "still very doable".
"It's a very common cycling injury, so you hear of guys who have raced two weeks later, and guys who have raced two months later," he said.
Johan Bruyneel, manager of Armstrong's Astana team, had already said in Spain that he believed Armstrong could be back in action for the Giro, with the American's prospects of racing in the Tour de France even better.
"A broken collarbone in March does not change anything as regards the Tour de France," which starts on July 4, Bruyneel said.
The US cycling legend broke his collarbone when he fell along with several other riders about 20 kilometres (32 miles) from the finish line of the first stage of the Tour of Castilla y Leon on Monday.
A cancer survivor who went on to claim a record seven Tour de France crowns, Armstrong ended a three-and-a-half year retirement at the Tour Down Under in Australia in January to launch a comeback aimed at challenging for an eighth Tour de France title.
Date created : 2009-03-26