Levi Leipheimer Undergoes Successful Surgery
Team Astana's Levi Leipheimer fractured his right wrist in a crash in the 12th stage of the 2009 Tour de France and has undergone successful surgery earlier today. The doctors joined the two parts of the broken scaphoid with a 22 mm titanium Herbert screw.
The operation was carried out in the Centre SOS Main Nancy (Hôpital Jeanne d'Arc) in Dommartin-lès-Toul. Leipheimer will return to the United States as soon as possible to begin his recovery. Leipheimer, three-times on the podium in Grand Tours, was obviously very disappointed to not be able to take the part in the 13th stage departing from Vittel earlier today.
"My wrist hurts a lot but it doesn’t compare to the pain of watching the Tour leave me behind and not be able to ride the Tour with my teammates. We've had a big battle so far and we’re the favorites and I wanted to be part of that. For sure I wasn't the biggest favorite, but it was a tactic that we could play. If I went up the road, the others would have had to chase. A day like today would maybe have offered possibilities for me,” Leipheimer concluded.
About the crash Leipheimer said that “The turn came upon me fast. I started to brake and slide a little bit and ran out of room and touched another wheel. I was sliding and saw the curb coming and I put my hand out…that's where I broke my wrist."
"The recovery can take a while. I'm afraid I will not be able to do big races any more this year, maybe only some US events,” he replied about the remainder of his 2009 racing season.
The reaction of current Astana Team Manager Johan Bruyneel came with, "He had a bad night, so we went to the hospital this morning where they saw the fracture. He is out now. For us it changes a lot. He was in fourth place. He was one of the guys who could potentially win the Tour. Strategically it will make a difference."
Teammate Alberto Contador added, "Levi was a key person in our team. The Tour is still long and despite the fact that the team did a superb job without him today, we will miss him in the coming week. I hope he will recover soon and wish him all the best."
And teammate and friend Lance Armstrong also commented on the loss of Leipheimer to this year’s Tour team: "It's a serious blow for our team. We had a nice four-headed approach there. Twenty-five percent of it is gone now. Not only does it hurt us, it helps the others. It turns their morale. They're maybe thinking that the team is weakened. It's unfortunate but it's part of bike racing."