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By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2002
The first day in the mountains, on the 11th stage of this year’s Tour de France, exacted an early toll on the peloton.
Danish champion Michael Sandstod of the CSC team was one of three riders forced to abandon after he came off his bike while descending the Col du Soulor, an unclassified category climb after tge Col d’ Aubisque.
Sandstod was immediately taken to a hospital and is suffering from multiple injuries including fractured ribs and a suspected fractured collarbone.
Jonathan Vaughters, the American who rides with the Credit Agricole team, also fell on the descent of the Aubisque and was forced to abandon with shoulder, elbow, knee and hand injuries.
Bradley McGee, the Australian who won the seventh stage for his FDJeux.com team, also crashed on the descent of the Aubisque although he is still in the race.
McGee suffered scrapes and bruising, mainly on his back, shoulder and right forearm. Estonia’s Jaan Kirsipuu, winner of the fifth stage and last year’s second most successful rider, has also pulled out. German rider Jens Voigt, the Credit Agricole rider who wore the yellow jersey for a day last year, has a deep scar on his right knee after a fall which needed two stitches. Santiago Perez of the Kelme team, who was not injured, retired after just an hour of racing.