BALTANAS, Spain — With the road narrowing and cyclists piling up in front of him, Lance Armstrong tumbled hard off his bike.
He was left with a broken collarbone that will need surgery and questions about whether he’ll be able to contend for an eighth Tour de France title in July.
“I’m alive!” he wrote on his Twitter feed. “Broken clavicle (right). Hurts like hell for now. Surgery in a couple of days. Thanks for all the well wishes.”
Armstrong will fly back to the United States after being knocked out of the first stage of the Vuelta of Castilla and Leon stage race in Spain.
“The crash has put my upcoming calendar in jeopardy, but the most important thing for me right now is to get back home and rest up and begin my rehab,” he said in a statement.
Armstrong, who has a home in Aspen, Colo., is scheduled to compete in the Giro d’Italia from May 9-May 31, then the Tour de France from July 4-26.
Armstrong won seven straight Tours from 1999-2005 before retiring. He returned after 31/2 years, and at 37 was hoping for another triumphant ride through Paris.
Armstrong was tossed off his bike during a pileup 121/2 miles from the stage’s finish Monday. The Texan was grimacing and trying to hold his right arm as he entered an ambulance.
“I’ve never had this happen before; it’s pretty painful,” he said. “I feel really miserable.”
This was Armstrong’s first stage race in Europe since winning the 2005 Tour.