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Armstrong breaks collarbone

SEVEN-TIME Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong fractured his right collarbone in a race in Spain on Monday, casting doubt on his participation in May's Giro d'Italia.

The American announced via his twitter feed ( that he would be having surgery "in a couple of days" after sustaining the injury during the first stage of Spain's Vuelta Castilla y Leon.

Asked whether his participation in the Italian stage race was in jeopardy, Armstrong said: "I am very disappointed. Very. Especially for the Giro."

In comments released in a team statement, Armstrong added: "Now I feel miserable ... I hope I can tell you more about the Giro in a week."

Armstrong, 37, came out of retirement this year and is due to make his first appearance in the Giro, starting on May 9 in Venice, before riding the Tour de France in July.

"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 was in obvious pain as he was helped into an ambulance and taken to hospital after the incident involving a group of riders with around 20km left of the 168.3-km leg between Paredes de Nava and Baltanas. He was taken to the University Clinic in nearby Valladolid for treatment and was later discharged.

Astana team boss Johan Bruyneel said the fracture had been clean and the rider's recovery should be fast, although he gave no timeframe. The rider said he had been lucky to have avoided one of the sport's most common injuries for so long and that the only thing he could do now was rest.

"This never happened in 17 years of pro cycling. That's cycling. It's nobody's fault," he said.

On his twitter feed, he added: "I'm alive! Broken clavicle (right). Hurts like hell for now. Surgery in a couple of days."

The Vuelta was being closely scrutinized as it was the first and only time Armstrong had been due to race alongside Spanish teammate Alberto Contador before the Tour de France.

Contador, the world's best stage-race rider, won the Tour in 2007 and there has been speculation about which of the pair would establish himself as Astana's No. 1.


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