AUSTIN, Texas – Lance Armstrong fans can follow their cycling superhero on Twitter as he prepares for collarbone surgery at a Texas hospital.
The seven-time Tour de France champion is sending updates and posting photos from his hospital bed as doctors prepare to insert a plate to stabilize his broken collarbone.
"About to head in. See y'all in a few. Livestrong," the 37-year-old tweeted.
Armstrong crashed Monday in the first stage of the Vuelta of Castilla and Leon race in northern Spain. He flew home to Austin on Tuesday and went straight to visit Austin sports medicine specialist Dr. Douglas Elenz, an orthopedic surgeon.
Although initial indications were it was a clean break, he said Tuesday new tests showed "multiple pieces" of broken bone.
But, the injury isn't going to sideline him for too long — Armstrong is planning to ride in the Giro d'Italia in May.
"I think the Giro is still very doable," he said Tuesday night during a conference call with reporters.
After surgery, Armstrong will take a mandatory 72-hour rest period. Then the surgeon will determine if Armstrong can get on an indoor training bike to resume his workouts.
Although the recovery typically takes four to six weeks, Armstrong hopes his will be faster.
"It's a very common cycling injury," he said. "You hear of guys who race two weeks later, you hear of guys who race two months later."
The Giro runs from May 9-31. The Tour de France is July 4-26.
Armstrong said he was frustrated the injury happened just as he was getting into top shape. He was among the top 10 riders for much of the race Monday before he crashed about 12 miles from the end of the stage. Astana team manager Johan Bruyneel said Armstrong hit the ground hard with his head, breaking his helmet.
"I felt like my condition was really coming to a point where I was going to be able to ride in the front of the races," he said. "It's the biggest setback I've ever hard in my cycling career. ... It's a new experience for me."
But he insisted it won't change his plans for the Giro or compromise his training for his return to the Tour, where he won seven consecutive titles from 1999-2006.
"I don't think this changes anything for the Tour de France," Bruyneel said earlier Tuesday in Spain. "A broken collarbone in the month of March does not at all compromise the start of the Tour de France or your performance in the Tour de France."
Still, the injury likely will force a shift in strategy for the Giro.
"Being at the start of the Giro is no problem," Bruyneel said. "But he has to have at least a decent level to be in the race and to compete at a certain level. ... Now it's almost clear that he's not going to be able to be a contender but we just have to change our focus and try to do the Giro, if he can get to the start, with another mentality."
Armstrong, diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain in 1996, has said the primary focus of his comeback is to spread his Livestrong message.
Asked if he felt his comeback was doomed when he crashed, Armstrong admitted he was a bit stunned at first.
"Lying in the ditch in that situation, yeah, but I think that's normal. You sort of ask yourself what the hell am I doing here?" Armstrong said.
"But laying in that ditch with a shattered collarbone was a lot better than other health scares I've had."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.