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LE HAVRE, France (VN) — Tour de France leader Tony Martin is out of the race with a broken collarbone after a crash in the last kilometer of stage 6 Thursday. Martin, winner of stage 4 in Cambrai, fell under the red kite, in the stage’s final kilometer. His teammates pushed him to the line to finish so that he could keep the jersey, but his Tour is over.
An Etixx-Quick-Step statement confirmed that its rider was out of the race, flying immediately to Hamburg, Germany for surgery.
“Unfortunately, the collarbone is a lateral fracture,” team doctor Helge Riepenhof said. “The collarbone is in lots of pieces, so it was a major impact. One of the pieces came through the skin, which means it’s an open fracture. Therefore, even if it was Tony’s [Martin] wish to start tomorrow, I have to say he is not allowed to. Riders always want to race. Tony especially. He’s shown in the last years that even with broken bones that he will race if possible. But this is a medical situation where this is impossible. He needs surgery straight away, and that is why we are going to the hospital now. We will fix the collarbone there. He is already on antibiotics. It’s a serious injury, and that is why we can’t risk anything and why he cannot be at the start tomorrow.”
The crash also involved 2014 race winner, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), and Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin).
“I’m not a specialist, I’m not a doctor, but riders are specialists,” general manager Patrick Lefevere told VeloNews.
“They pushed him over the finish line, and they said, ‘No doubts about it, it’s broken.’ When a rider says this, I believe it.”
Martin’s teammate Zdenek Stybar, attacked the small group shortly after the crash and soloed to the stage win.
“I don’t even want to think that it may be over for Tony [Martin],” the former world cyclocross champion said in a press conference.
“I won a stage of the Tour; it’s amazing, but I feel really sorry for Tony. It must be crazy. He was focusing for the time trial, lost it by one second, lost the jersey by one second the next day, but then he wins a stage and takes the yellow. Now he crashed. It’s crazy.”
“I had my bad luck, I do not even remember what happened very well,” Martin added. “I touched the back wheel of the rider in front of me. It’s a shame. On the Tour, luck and bad luck are closely related.”
The Etixx team’s Twitter statement confirmed Martin’s initial assessment at the line, saying, “Confirmed broken collarbone.”
Martin, 30, is the second yellow jersey to abandon after Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) left the race on Monday.
Lefevere was first upset for Martin, a multiple world time trial champion, and then for his team. Friday, Etixx’s Mark Cavendish has another chance to try to sprint to his first stage win of the 2015 Tour.
“Tomorrow we have a flat stage, and he’s one of the best lead-out men in the world,” Lefevere added. “On Sunday, of course, we have the team time trial. With a guy like Tony, everything is easier.”
Though it was a bad day for Martin, Stybar celebrated a completed a journey from cyclocross champion to road star. After winning a stage in the Vuelta a España and the Strade Bianche, and placing second in Paris-Roubaix this year, he has a Tour de France stage win to add to his palmarès.
“With Stybar it was such a good moment,” Martin said. “It’s so strange to be so sad and happy together. I told Stybar to not be sad for me. I told him to enjoy his day, as he deserves it.”
“To win the word championships and the stage in the Tour, they are very close to each other,” Stybar said.
“Cyclocross is sport number one in Belgium, very popular in the Czech Republic, but the Tour de France is the Tour de France, this is probably on the same level as my first win in the worlds [in] Tabor.”
Agence France-Press and Barnaby Chesterman contributed to this report.
— Etixx – Quick-Step (@Etixx_QuickStep) July 9, 2015
Collarbone is broken. We will discuss further steps. — Tony Martin (@tonymartin85) July 9, 2015