Cycling: Crash dashes Armstrong plan return

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The Independent Online

Lance Armstrong's comeback suffered a major setback yesterday when the seven-times Tour de France winner crashed badly in Spain's Tour of Castille and Leon and quit with a broken collarbone.

Close to the finale of yesterday's flat first stage, he was in the middle of the fast-moving peloton when two riders clipped wheels and a dozen fell heavily. The American was taken to a hospital in Valladolid and race officials later confirmed that Armstrong had broken his right collarbone.

"I've never had this happen before; it's pretty painful. I feel really miserable," Armstrong told reporters. He said he would return to the United States for medical advice.

Armstrong's injury is his first big crash since 2003. Riders usually return to racing four to six weeks after this type of injury, a time span which could put his plans to compete in the Tour of Italy, which starts 9 May, in jeopardy. The Tour of Italy is a crucial part of Armstrong's build-up for the Tour de France in July after three and a half years away from racing.