Doctors of Garmin-Slipstream's Christian Vande Velde have uncovered more fractures caused by his crash in Stage 3 of last week's Giro d'Italia. What was thought to be a sprain in his back turned out to be three fractured vertebrae.
The breaks were found with additional imaging tests which uncovered the fractures on three "spinous processes" - the attachment point for muscles and ligaments in the back. Tests also revealed a cracked pelvis in addition to the two broken ribs which were revealed the day of the crash.
"Christian sustained a significant impact and the additional imaging results uncovered more fractures, which is not uncommon," said team physician Prentice Steffen. "The good news is, we now know the extent of his injuries and are working with him on his recovery. He just needs to take it day by day."
Vande Velde, who is targeting the Tour de France after coming close to a podium finish last year, is upbeat about his recuperation.
"I feel better every day," he said. "I understand that it is going to take a lot of work to come back from this, but I'm feeling positive. It is too soon to say when I'll be racing again but I am incredibly motivated by my family, my team and our supporters."
Horner abandons after epic Stage 10
American Chris Horner (Astana) has featured in the finale of every mountain stage in the Giro d'Italia until Tuesday's tenth stage when a crash early in the race robbed him of his chance to continue the race. He did not start stage 11 due to a leg injury sustained in the fall the previous day.
The team's spokesman Philippe Maertens said that Horner could barely walk on the injured leg and did not want to jeopardize the rest of the season by attempting to race on it. He was diagnosed with a tear in the muscle on the back of leg below his knee, the tibialis, and will return to his home in Bend, Oregon.
Horner was 11th overall, 1:39 down on race leader Danilo Di Luca. He described the crash on his blog entry for Oregonlive.com before he decided to abandon.
"I was having a great day at that point. My legs felt great after the rest day, and I was excited to be part of such a cool stage. Things soon changed for me, unfortunately."
Two riders crashed in front of him on the descent after the first climb, and Horner ran into the hillside on the same shoulder he broke in the Vuelta a País Vasco in April.
"Since it has only been five and a half weeks since I broke it, it definitely hurt more than a little. I also hit my left knee when I went down."
Horner made the lead group as they began the final climb, but succumbed to the surge created by the attack of Franco Pellizotti and finished 25th on the stage.
"If I had hit any harder, I probably would be on my way home with another broken shoulder," he wrote.
Follow the 61km Stage 13 time trial of the 2009 Giro d'Italia live on Cyclingnews.com.