Lance Armstrong avoids broken bones after California crash

Bad day at the office for RadioShack captain

Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong had good news for fans Friday after X-rays revealed he suffered no fractures following a crash in the Tour of California.

Armstrong suffered a cut under his left eye that required eight stitches and a severely bruised left elbow during a crash on the race's fifth stage on Thursday.

The Radio Shack team of the 38-year-old American, who is due to bid for the Tour de France yellow jersey in July, welcomed the news that Armstrong had no further injuries.

A statement from the American outfit said: "Team RadioShack's Lance Armstrong suffered a severe left elbow contusion with a big haematoma as well as a 3 cm/1.2 inch complex swollen laceration under his left eye.

"Armstrong resumed riding after the crash for about 10km but had to abandon because his eye was swollen shut. After the crash Lance Armstrong was evaluated by Race doctor Ramin Modabber and Team doctor Dag Van Elslande in the Team bus.

"They administered eight stitches below his left eye. Armstrong was taken to Bakersfield Memorial Hospital for precautionary X-rays which were negative."

Armstrong, who was caught in the eye of a doping storm Thursday after former teammate Floyd Landis levelled allegations of doping against his fellow American, said he regretted having to pull out of the race.

"It was a shame to have to abandon early and not be able to help (teammate) Levi (Leipheimer) to another victory," Armstrong said in the team statement. "It was one of those crashes that put a bunch of us down. I tried to give it a go but my eye was swollen so I couldn't see properly and the pain in the elbow prevented me from holding the bars for the remainder of the stage.

"It was a relief to learn there were no breaks. I will take a few days to recover and be on the bike as soon as possible."

Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after testing positive for testosterone. He had long denied doping but on Thursday he went public with confessions of his own cheating and alleged that Armstrong also engaged in systematic doping.

However Armstrong, often accused of doping but who has never tested positive, hit back: "Floyd lost his credibility a long time ago.

"We have nothing to hide. We have nothing to run from."

Prior to the Tour de France (July 3-25), Armstrong is slated to race in the Tour of Switzerland which starts on June 12.

The Tour of California continues Friday with the 217.7km sixth stage from Palmdale to Big Bear Lake. The race concludes on Sunday.

© AFP 2010

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