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Tour de France

Kevin Vermaerke: ‘I’m gutted to end the Tour de France like this’

Vermaerke was among seven US riders starting the 2022 Tour de France.

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Kevin Vermaerke said he’s “gutted” to crash out of the Tour de France on Saturday.

The American Tour rookie at Team DSM went down hard on his left side in a pileup early in the eighth stage that also involved Tadej Pogačar, Nairo Quintana, and others.

“I’m gutted to end the Tour de France like this,” Vermaerke said. “I have no words. I really wanted to continue on but unfortunately it was just not possible.”

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The 21-year-old Vermaerke tried to push on but was forced to stop. A trip to a local hospital confirmed a broken collarbone.

“During a crash in today’s stage Kevin unfortunately fell hard on his shoulder. He was brought to a hospital where tests have shown that he broke his left collarbone during that crash,” said team doctor Anko Boelens.

“It is likely that he will need surgery but we will find out more in the coming days after further examinations. His other injuries are thankfully only superficial, including other wounds and contusions.”

Vermaerke made an impression during the Critérium du Dauphiné to punch his Tour ticket.

“I was really enjoying the opening week with the guys,” Vermarke said. “The legs felt good and the atmosphere at the race was incredible, so I’ll take some nice memories with me but this motivates me even more to come back stronger. I want to wish the all of the guys the best of luck for the rest of the Tour.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston said this won’t be his final Tour.

“It’s a real shame to lose Kevin and a disappointment for the team. He was doing a super good job in his first Tour de France,” Winston said. “Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to continue due to the injury. We’ll for sure miss him, he did a really good job in the opening stages but I’m sure he will come back stronger and have plenty more chances in the future.”

Vermaerke was among seven U.S. riders starting the 2022 Tour, the most since nine started in 2014.