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Astana’s Chris Horner leaves the Giro following a crash early on stage 10

Leipheimer also takes a tumble; and, an update on Vande Velde’s recovery

By Andrew Hood

Team Astana lost a key support rider in the Giro d’Italia Wednesday when Chris Horner dropped out due to injuries from a crash early on Tuesday’s stage.

Meanwhile, team leader Levi Leipheimer took a fall mid-way through Wednesday’s stage but quickly remounted and continued, telling team officials he was not seriously hurt. And American Christian Vande Velde, who left the Giro after a crash on stage 3, has learned he suffered more bone fractures than originally thought.

Astana’s Philippe Maertens said Horner injured his right shoulder in a crash Tuesday, the same shoulder he injured in a crash in the Pays Vasco earlier this season. Horner also hurt his leg in the crash Tuesday.

“He was OK last night, but this morning he couldn’t walk,” Maertens said. “It was something behind his knee. Sure, the team will miss him, but Lance is getting better, so he can help Levi in the mountains.”

The team said Horner tore the tibialia anterior muscle in the left calf. He will rest for a week and then be able to resume training. He is going back to his home in Bend, Oregon.

Leipheimer takes a tumble

Leipheimer fell at about the 100km mark in Wednesday’s stage.

“We don’t know exactly what happened yet in the crash, but he says he’s not seriously injured,” Maertens told VeloNews during the stage.

Vande Velde discovers more fractures

Vande Velde is recovering at his European base in Girona, Spain. His team said that additional imaging has revealed “he sustained a total of six fractures, including three vertebrae fractures (spinous processes), a pelvic fracture and two rib fractures.”

Earlier, the team said he had a total of three fractures, including he ribs and pelvic bone break.

Team physician Prentice Steffen said discovering additional fractures was common as more imaging is done.

“The good news is, we now know the extent of his injuries and are working with him on his recovery. He just needs to take it day by day.”

Vande Velde said he feels better every day.

“I understand that it is going to take a lot of work to come back from this, but I’m feeling positive. It is too soon to say when I’ll be racing again but I am incredibly motivated by my family, my team and our supporters.”

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