American rider crashes out of what is expected to be his final Tour de France
ALBI, France (AFP) — US rider Christian Vande Velde has abandoned the Tour de France, race officials said on Friday, after being caught up in a crash early in the seventh stage to Albi.
Vande Velde suffered several injuries in the crash-marred fifth stage to Marseille, after which he was widely expected to abandon.
The veteran 37-year-old battled through the pain to complete a hectic stage six to Montpellier on Thursday and had hoped to reach his favored terrain of the mountains on Saturday, when the race heads into the Pyrenees.
But the hopes of Vande Velde, who has been racing with a loosened screw from the metal plate on his collarbone from an earlier injury, were dashed when he was among several riders to come down early on the 205km stage to Albi.
Team doctor Prentice Steffen said the injuries that had built up since the start of the race meant Vande Velde could no longer continue.
“Christian suffered his second crash in three days today (Friday) and unfortunately his injuries have forced him out of the Tour,” he said.
“The multiple contusions and abrasions he suffered in today’s crash, compounded with the injuries he sustained on stage five, which included a blood clot in his neck muscle, a loosened screw in his clavicle plate and upper back injuries, made it impossible for him to finish the stage.
“We’ll examine him closely tonight and continue to evaluate his injuries.”