More surgery necessary for BMC Racing Team’s Ballan as further stomach adhesions are diagnosed
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

More surgery necessary for BMC Racing Team’s Ballan as further stomach adhesions are diagnosed

by Shane Stokes at 6:39 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
Complications of December crash continue for former world champion, no estimate as to when he’ll return

Alessandro BallanHaving been forced to withdraw from the Tour de Wallonie in July as a result of stomach issues, former world champion Alessandro Ballan will once again go under the knife in order to try to put the problem behind him once and for all.

The Italian has had a very difficult past nine months, crashing heavily in training in December and suffering a double fracture to his left leg plus a fractured rib. He also had a small puncture in his lung, plus damage to his spleen which necessitated its removal.

In February he was readmitted to hospital with stomach pains. In addition to being diagnosed with appendix problems which led to the organ’s removal, he also had to undergo surgery to correct adhesions that had formed after his spleen was taken out.

Now, months later, similar adhesions have once again been detected.

BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa announced the news today, saying that the issue is the reason why he has only raced fifteen times this year.

“Alessandro hasn't had a break from bad luck after his injury,” he said. “He's been having reoccurring issues with his health and we hope this surgery finally brings an end to it.”

“He spent two days in a hospital in Belgium undergoing observation and we eventually cleared him to return to racing. But further investigation has determined he will need surgery to release the adhesions on his abdomen developed after the previous surgeries.”

Ballan is resigned to undergoing the surgery, which looks set to happen in early September.

“I was happy with my recovery after the crash in Denia, but then sad when I had more problems,” he stated, referring to his Wallonie withdrawal on the morning of July 21st. “But I am strong and I know after this last surgery I will be as healthy before. This experience has brought me closer to my family and friends and will make me stronger in life as well.”

According to Testa, there is no indication as yet as to when the former world champion might be able to return to competition. However time is ticking towards the end of the season.

BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz wished Ballan a speedy recovery and said that he believed he would have the best of care.

“We certainly missed Alessandro in the spring Classics and we were hoping he would be healthy by this time.”

Ballan was one of 27 individuals named by La Gazzetta dello Sport in July as being officially indicted in connection to the Mantova doping case. The charge dates back to his time with the Lampre team rather than relating to his period with the BMC Racing squad.

According to the Italian paper, the judge overseeing the preliminary hearing has agreed with the request made by the prosecutor Antonino Condorelli to proceed with a case against riders, team staff and managers. This process is due to begin on December 10th.

In July, the team’s press officer Georges Lucinger told VeloNation that his medical problems were the sole reason Ballan didn’t continue in Wallonie. He said that the rider hadn’t been suspended over the Mantova case.

“We as a team haven't been notified about anything so there is no reasons to talk about any measures,” he said then.


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