Tom Boonen undergoes surgery for infected elbow

The infection stemmed from a minor mountain-bike crash during training, Boonen says

HERENTALS, Belgium (VN) — Tom Boonen underwent an operation on Sunday for a septic infection in his left elbow, his team announced Monday.

The infection stemmed from a mountain-bike crash on January 13, according to the Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider.

“I fell on my left elbow,” Boonen said. “I didn’t even think about it, it was just a little scrape to the elbow, which I cleaned and disinfected once I got back home.”

A week later, however, the elbow started swelling, he said.

Boonen began a course of antibiotics, but after a subsequent checkup doctors decided to operate.

“I have to thank the medical staff who understood right away that the infection was spreading, and who organized things to solve the problem in no time,” he said.

Boonen will have to spend a few days under observation at the hospital in Herentals and undergo treatment with antibiotics.

“That was a really close call for me,” said Boonen. “Now, fortunately, the situation is improving. Now I want to recuperate as soon as possible and then next week I’ll be thinking again on my training and competitive schedule. Of course, this problem couldn’t have come at a worse time, what with the upcoming classics.”