South Australia's Stuart O'Grady is recovering at his home in Monacoafter surgery in the wake of a crash in Saturday's Milan-San Remo.
O'Grady came down around 30 kilometres into the 298km race when a rider crashed in front of him.
"Wewere doing about 55km/h and had just hit a pavé section when a guy infront of me just wiped out and I had absolutely nowhere to go exceptright into him," said O'Grady from his home in Monaco.
He suffered a punctured lung, broken right collar bone and a broke a rib in his back.
"I'vebeen worse," joked O'Grady who during the 2007 Tour de France sufferedmajor injuries including multiple rib fractures, a punctured lung and abroken right shoulder. "This one's nothing really."
But whileO'Grady's sense of humour survived the crash his bid to post a win inone of the major Spring Classics events has not.
"I'm prettydevastated because I was really going well, flying under the radar andeverything was looking good so I'm really disappointed," said the SaxoBank rider. "I managed to dodge all the crashes in Tirreno (mid-March)and the carnage in Belgium (races) so I was pretty happy with howthings were going.
"I was really looking forward to leadingthe team into the Classics so it's very frustrating to be sidelined,"said O'Grady who will now miss the Tour of Flanders, the Amstel GoldRace and Paris-Roubaix, the Queen of the Classics that he won in 2007.
Initallydoctors sent the 35 year old home but a second look at his x-rays sawhim back in hospital and undergoing surgery on Saturday night.
"Ifirst went to hospital in Italy but was transferred back to Monacowhere they did some x-rays and tests," explained O'Grady. "The doctordidn't find anything and I was pretty shocked when he said nothing wasbroken and told me to go home and rest.
"But when I got backhome the phone rang and another doctor said can you come back toemergency please," he said. "It was a little bit freaky.
Surgeons operated to insert a tube into his chest to drain fluid and today told him they are happy with the results.
"It'shealing okay so no more operations and although the doctors say atleast three weeks before I can be back training I could probably beback on my bike in two," said O'Grady.
"But realistically there's no point rushing back too early because I'llmiss the Classics regardless and I was due to have time off afterParis-Roubaix anyway."
O'Grady's toughness is renowned in thepeloton and he has demonstrated his ability to come back from injuriesmany times during his career.
"But you've got to admit there's not too many years to go at this stage so when you miss one it's even more frustrating."
O'Grady says he's discuss with team management a revised plan for his 2009 season.
"I'llhave to refocus the season goals because I'd pretty much put all myeggs in one basket for the Classic, but that's life," said O'Grady.
"Might have to look at the World Championships or races later in the year now and set some different objectives."
Inthe meantime he'll enjoy some time at home with his two children andwife Anne Marie, who is pregnant with their third child.
In astrange coincidence the wife of cyclist Thor Hushovd, who placed thirdin Saturday's race, was in labour down the hall in the same hospital asO'Grady.
"Thor popped into see me yesterday after he saw his wife and new baby."