Greg Minnaar in hospital after moto crash

South African downhiller recovering from blood clot surgery

Santa Cruz Syndicate downhill racer Greg Minnaar is recovering in hospital after he broke his collarbone while racing motocross and developed blood clots in his left leg.

"I knew [the collarbone] was broken straight away, as soon as I landed," Minnaar said. "I was about 20km from the start/finish area when it happened and I struggled to ride further round the lap until I came to a marshal point. I left the bike there and got a lift to the hospital.

"I didn't feel too bad and actually walked into the hospital. That's when the doctors noticed my left thigh had swollen up to be 10cm thicker than my right thigh. They rushed me into surgery and pulled out three massive blood clots; one was the size of the doctor's fist!"

The accident happened while the former downhill world champion was competing in a Hare Scramble enduro event near his hometown of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa at the weekend.

It was part of his preparation for the Roof Of Africa Enduro scheduled for later this month. The 27-year-old raced motorcycles before turning to bicycles in 1999.

According to Minnaar's long-time manager Martin Whiteley, doctors decided to leave the incision open overnight and drain further fluid. More than 500ml was removed and the doctors opted to operate again on Monday night to stitch up the muscle and its casing.

Syndicate team-mates Minnaar (L) and Josh Brycleand in Santa Cruz, California in January

"Presently Greg has a small drainage tube in his left leg, and the doctors are keeping him under observation," Whiteley said. "The collarbone break is on the right side. Fortunately his left shoulder, which had reconstructive surgery at the end of 2007, was not affected by the crash."

Minnaar started the three-hour event in 70th place and had moved up to fourth by the end of the third and penultimate lap. At that stage he was second fastest, but as he rounded a right-hand corner he hit a concealed rock that threw him over the bars and onto his right shoulder, breaking his collarbone.

"It's so weird. I was able to walk into the hospital and I have no recollection of hitting my leg in the fall," Minnaar said. "Strangely, it's exactly the same place where I had deep bruising following my crash at Mt Sainte-Anne this year, so there may be some connection. The cut in my leg is about 25cm and I am unable to move or walk right now."

According to Whiteley, the doctors are happy with Minnaar's thigh muscles but are keeping him under observation for at least another 24 hours.

"There are no immediate plans for Greg to leave the hospital," he said. "Needless to say, any plans to repeat his efforts at the Roof Of Africa Enduro have been set aside. "Once Greg is released from hospital he expects to be on crutches for some time before getting back onto a bike."

Santa Cruz Bicycles' owner Rob Roskopp wasn't too worried about one of his star riders. "His off-season looks like plenty of healing and training; pretty good timing to be honest," Roskopp told BikeRadar. "This way he has plenty of time to recover and get fit."

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