MADRID, Spain (BRAIN)—Lance Armstrong's comeback to competitive road cycling came to a crashing halt on narrow country road in Spain yesterday.
The 37-year-old Armstrong broke his collarbone when he got caught in a pileup near the end of Stage 1 of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, a minor five-day stage race in the countryside north of Madrid.
As the reports flooded in, the question on everyone's mind was whether Armstrong would return in time to go after an eighth Tour de France title.
Perhaps the two companies with the most to lose from a lofty "Lance" layoff would be Trek and SRAM, with Armstrong racing on their bikes and components respectively.
"We care first and foremost about Lance’s health and safety," said David Zimberoff, global marketing manager at SRAM. "We wish him a speedy and strong recovery. When he’s ready to race, we’ll support him fully. We're not pushing him for any specific race. We support his decision."
Trek marketing manager Dean Gore added, "From what we have heard through the Astana team, Lance thinks it best to wait a week before making any reevaluation of his schedule. But if you have to break a collarbone, March is the right time to do it."
Early indications point to Gore being spot on, with Armstrong already focused on the future and getting back to competition.
"Surgery in a couple of days," Armstrong wrote Monday in a Twitter update. "Thanks for all the well wishes."
Armstrong's spokesman, Mark Higgins, told ESPN.com the surgery would "most likely" take place in Austin, Texas, where Armstrong has lived for many years.
"It's a bummer, certainly, but I don't think it's going to change his plans that much," said Team Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer to ESPN, who was riding ahead of the crash and was not involved in it. "If it's a clean break, it could be a matter of days, not weeks, before he's back on the bike training."
Armstrong does have a "clean" fracture and should make a fast recovery, his Astana team manager Johan Bruyneel said on Twitter.
According to ESPN, Armstrong remained with the team on Monday night in Spain and planned to fly back to the United States today.
"In 17 years as a pro, I have been lucky to avoid one of the most common cycling injuries," Armstrong said in an e-mailed statement. "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."
Click on link to read the blog entry called "Lance and Twitter: The Injury (A Recap)."