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Ballan Seriously Injured in Training Crash

Alessandro Ballan suffered multiple injuries during a BMC training camp

Fotoreporter Sirotti

BMC's Alessandro Ballan, winner of the Tour of Flanders in 2007, crashed on a descent during a team training camp in Spain, suffering several significant injuries. Most dangerously, his spleen had to be surgically removed after being damaged in the fall. He reportedly awaits a second surgery for a broken leg, according to Sporza, though the leg was of secondary importance to the spleen. Ballan also suffered a perforation to his lung and a broken rib. Nobody seems to be talking about when he might recover, though the statements from the team sound like they hope to start thinking in those terms when more information is available. Which I would loosely translate to mean he's not in serious danger or looking at premature retirement.

Ballan's star-crossed career might have changed today, however. At 33, his 2013 classics season is already in jeopardy, and a more significant setback would put him behind in his fitness for the season. Ballan's window for winning another cobbled monument wasn't going to stay open forever, and losing this spring (as seems likely) would see that window continue to close. All that said, we're dealing with pretty spotty information at this time, and I guess we can hold out some hope that Ballan might be fit again in time for at least some significant chunk of the 2013 season. [He also faces an investigation associated with the Mantova doping matter, so his season might have been complicated by that as well, though little can be said about where that is headed.]