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Armstrong crashes out of Exergy Tour, Whitten wins prologue

BOISE, Idaho (VN) — In a hard blow to the Exergy Twenty12 team, hometown favorite Kristin Armstrong crashed hard Thursday, halfway through the Exergy Tour’s 3.2km prologue. She was later diagnosed with a fractured collarbone and will undergo surgery on Friday.

The reigning Olympic time trial gold medalist flew out of the gate and looked to be on her way to setting the fastest time on the course when she went down halfway through the race at the Boise Bus Depot.

The spot proved difficult to several riders, including Canadian Clara Hughes (Specialized-lululemon) who went down in a practice run in the same turn.

Armstrong, cheered on by hometown Idaho fans and the last starter of the day, had the fastest time at the split before she went down.

“It’s the hometown, you give 110 percent,” said Simon Cope, Exergy Twenty12’s director. “You take those corners too fast.”

Armstrong still came in with the 13th-fastest time despite being on the ground for over 15 seconds, but she rolled through the finish gripping her shoulder.

After the race, she was led to the Exergy Twenty12 team cars in tears, and was quickly surrounded by a team of doctors and taken to a hospital for X-rays, which confirmed a broken collarbone.

Armstrong’s husband, Joe Savola, told the Idaho Statesman that she is out for the rest of the Exergy Tour and is expected to undergo surgery Friday morning.

Her team issued a press release stating that Armstrong has a mid-shaft clavicle fracture. Surgery was scheduled for Friday morning where the injury will be stabilized with clavicle pins. Armstrong is expected back on her trainer within a few days to continue her pursuit of a second Olympic gold medal.

“It’s a bit of a blow, but what can you do? I’ve seen it time and time again, I’ve been in the sport for 25, 30 years — things happen,” said Cope.

“We are all absolutely heartbroken for Kristin, but we are ready to rally and do this for her and her hometown,” said Armstrong’s teammate Tayler Wiles.

Tara Whitten (Tibco-To the Top) won the prologue with a time of 4:09.640, just three-tenths of a second faster than compatriot Gillian Carleton of the Canadian national team. Hughes placed third, one second down, followed by Specialized-lululemon teammates Ina Teutenberg and Evelyn Stevens, both three seconds off Whitten’s winning time.

“It was such a strong field today. I am very proud to wear the first ever yellow jersey at the Exergy Tour,” said Whitten while talking to race announcer Dave Towle after the podium ceremony. “The Canadian cycling program made huge improvements over past several years. Gillian is a strong member of the women’s team pursuit on the track, and I am very excited for the Olympic Games coming up this summer. I am thrilled that we’re both in top form. We are only getting stronger.”

Added Whitten, “The first comment I got from one of my teammate coming back was that the crowds were amazing, and it pushes you to give everything you have in there. We have a really strong team here and we are excited for the days to come.”

Race results >>

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