Ballan in surgery after suffering broken femur, spleen injury

Former world champion suffers fractured rib and is in surgery Thursday evening

Former world champion Alessandro Ballan suffered a broken leg, broken rib and injured spleen in a training crash at BMC Racing camp on Thursday.

According to a release from the team, Ballan was descending from the Coll de Rates near Parcent, Spain, when he crashed heavily. The Italian suffered a mid-shaft, displaced fracture to his left femur and BMC Racing physician Dr. Max Testa expects Ballan to undergo at least two surgeries — the first of which occurred Thursday night to remove Ballan’s spleen.

“The broken rib actually made a small puncture in his lung,” Dr. Testa said. “The first priority is the spleen injury — that is considered a medical emergency.”

Ballan was scheduled to open his 2013 season at the Tour Down Under in January.

“Of course his loss means a lot since Alessandro is one of our key riders for the classics,” sport director John Lelangue said. “But most important right now is that he can recover and just get back to his normal process. We’ll wait for all the medical information before even beginning to think about what could be his plan for coming back.”