- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2009

BALTANAS, SPAIN (AP) - Lance Armstrong was taken to the hospital Monday with a possible broken collarbone after falling during a pileup in the first stage of a race.

The seven-time Tour de France champion was grimacing and trying to hold his right arm as he entered an ambulance.

Organizers of the five-day Vuelta of Castilla and Leon race said Armstrong has a “suspected bone fracture” after his tumble 12.5 miles from the finish.

“Lance crashed and is out,” teammate Levi Leipheimer wrote on his Twitter Web feed. “Possible broken collarbone.”

Organizers said Armstrong was being transferred to Valladolid University Hospital after initially being taken to the Rio Carrion hospital in Palencia.

The 37-year-old Texan is making a comeback to cycling and is riding with the Astana team as he prepares for another possible shot at a Tour de France title. He had not raced in Spain for five years.

The mainly flat first stage Monday covered 109 miles from Paredes de Nava to Baltanas. It was won by Joaquin Sobrino Martinez of Burgos Monumental in 4 hours, 31 minutes, 53 seconds after a sprint finish. He was followed by David Vitoria of Rock Racing and Jose Joaquin Rojas of Caisse d’Epargne.

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