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Levi Leipheimer admitted Wednesday that he may not be able to start the Tour of California next month following a car/bike collision on April 1. Leipheimer’s Omega Pharma-Quick Step teammate Tony Martin returned to the saddle this week after his own car/bike crash.
“The Tour of California was one of the objectives for my season,” said Leipheimer. “I wanted to be competitive in order to win a fourth overall title. At this point, merely participating will be a success. I will put in my best effort to manage to be on the starting line, even though it won’t be easy.”
Leipheimer suffered a fractured fibula when a car hit him from behind during a training ride on the eve of the Vuelta al País Vasco. He flew home to Santa Rosa, California, the next day and doctors there diagnosed the fracture.
“The situation isn’t pleasant at all,” said Leipheimer in a team release. “Ever since the day of the accident I haven’t managed to get back on my bike out on the road, and I honestly don’t know when that will be possible. Recovery is slower than we expected. I still have pain in my leg and I’m having trouble walking. I also have pain in my ribs and hips due to the fall, this is limiting my movement.”
Martin suffered multiple facial fractures, as well as a broken shoulder and arm, in a crash near his Swiss home last Wednesday.
“I am really happy to be able to get back on my bicycle on the road,” said Martin. “I pedaled for 30 minutes yesterday on a bike path near home and today I went out again riding my bike for about an hour. Obviously, these aren’t training sessions, but just some pedaling to get used to the bicycle and the road again. I am trying to listen to my body and I’m pedaling without taking any type of risk. It’s a very pleasant feeling, especially thinking about the fact that a week ago I was lying in a hospital bed.”
The team did not set a date for the world time trial champion to return to action. Martin said he was focused wholly on a full recovery before beginning training.
“Right now I am focusing on my body and I am only thinking about recovering fully,” he said. “I will start more intense training sessions only when I feel like I’m ready for it and the team’s medical staff will say it is ok to do so.”