The injury-plagued Garmin-Transitions team is on the edge of losing another rider at the Tour de France, as American Dave Zabriskie has developed tendonitis in his left knee.
Zabriskie said the knee pain came “out of nowhere” during stage 2, and has progressively worsened. He showed up to the start of stage 6 with blue kinesiology tape covering his knee.
“I’m just trying to get through these stages,” he told VeloNews at the start of stage 6 in Montargis.
Asked what role he’s played in helping Garmin sprinters Tyler Farrar, Julian Dean and Robbie Hunter to the front, Zabriskie replied: “I haven’t been able to help at all. I’m basically in survival mode.”
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Zabriskie’s left knee still has surgical screws from a 2003 training collision with a vehicle.
The screws have made his left knee sensitive to any changes, Zabriskie said. At the 2007 Tour, while riding with Team CSC, he was forced to abandon with knee pain, which he attributed to a team mandate that forced him to switch from a custom cycling shoe to a team-sponsored brand.
During this Tour there have been no adjustments in his shoes, pedals or cleats, he said, though he added that his seat-post height has been “all over the place.”
Zabriskie’s struggles are more in a long line of physical problems for the Garmin team, which lost Christian Vande Velde after the chaos on the Col du Stockeu on stage 2 when the team’s GC leader broke two ribs, adding to two ribs broken at the Tour of Switzerland.
Farrar and Dean both went to the hospital after that stage, where Farrar’s X-rays showed a fractured wrist and Dean was diagnosed with a large bruise on his left upper back. David Millar crashed three times on stage 2 and is thought to have a broken rib.
Zabriskie has shown good form in 2010, finishing second overall to Michael Rogers at the Amgen Tour of California.
The Utah native made history by winning the Tour prologue in 2005 ahead of Lance Armstrong and taking the yellow jersey, only to crash mysteriously in the team time trial several days later.