Alessandro Ballan suffered a broken leg, a broken rib and an injured spleen Thursday when he crashed on the penultimate day of the BMC Racing Team’s training camp in Spain. The injuries require at least two separate surgeries – the first of which was taking place Thursday night, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa said.
Spleen Will Be Removed
Ballan was descending the Coll de Rates climb near Parcent toward the end of a four-hour training ride when the high-speed accident occurred. After being taken to a local hospital by BMC Racing Team Dr. Dario Spinelli, Ballan was diagnosed with a mid-shaft, displaced fracture of his left femur, a fracture of his ninth rib and some abdominal trauma. “The broken rib actually made a small puncture in his lung,” Dr. Testa said. “The first priority is the spleen injury – that is considered a medical emergency.” Ballan was undergoing surgery to remove his spleen Thursday night and a decision on when and where his broken leg can be operated on will come at a later time, Dr. Testa said.
Lelangue: ‘His Loss Means A Lot’
BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue visited Ballan at the hospital and said the team’s first priority is making sure the 2008 world road champion can rest and recover properly. Ballan had been scheduled to compete in the season-opening race, the Santos Tour Down Under, in Australia next month. “Of course his loss means a lot since Alessandro is one of our key riders for the classics,” Lelangue said. “But most important right now is that he can recover and just get back to his normal process. We’ll wait for all the medical information before even beginning to think about what could be his plan for coming back.”
Ballan won two races in 2012: the final stage of the Eneco Tour of Benelux and the one-day Giro della Toscana. He was the team’s best finisher at Paris-Roubaix (third), the Tour of Flanders (third), Strade Bianche (fourth) and Milan-San Remo (eighth). He also helped the BMC Racing Team earn a silver medal in the team time trial at the UCI road world championships.