- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner yesterday broke two bones in his right hand after tumbling off his bike in Lexington during a ride to promote tourism.

Mr. Warner, 50, was treated in Lexington and then underwent surgery last night at VCU Medical Center in Richmond.

Warner spokeswoman Ellen Qualls said plates and screws were used to repair the broken bones. She said the two-hour operation went well but that the governor was being kept overnight for observation.

Warner spokesman Kevin Hall said the governor, who was riding with 2,000 cyclists in the 18th annual Bike Virginia Valley Byways Tour, fell when he tried to drink from his water bottle.

He was approaching a railroad track and holding a water bottle in one hand, leaving him unable to apply pressure evenly to the hand brakes for the front and rear wheels, Mr. Hall said. The front brakes caught, and the bike flipped.

The governor, an experienced cyclist who was wearing a helmet, was conscious and talking throughout his treatment, Mr. Hall said.

Mr. Warner, a Democrat, had ridden 24 miles of a hilly Bike Virginia course from Raphine to Rockbridge Baths and had six miles left when the accident occurred.

Mr. Warner, who is right-handed, had not sustained any serious injuries during his time in office.

The governor exercises regularly and has championed a program that encourages state employees to eat properly and walk during lunch breaks.

The rest of the governor’s schedule for the week is being determined, Mr. Hall said. Mr. Warner’s scheduled appearance this morning on WTOP Radio’s “Ask the Governor” program was canceled.

Mr. Warner is scheduled to travel Thursday to Portland, Maine, where he is to record a town hall meeting with Maine Gov. John Baldacci about reforming high schools. It is one of Mr. Warner’s initiatives as chairman of the National Governors Association.

Mr. Warner is widely thought to be interested in seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. He recently hired a former adviser to Al Gore and has formed a committee to explore a run for a federal office.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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