T-Mobile’s Alexandre Vinokourov has pulled out of next month’s Tour de France after a fall during the Tour of Switzerland over the weekend, spokesmen for his team confirmed Monday.
“Vinokourov won’t be on the Tour,” team spokesman Matthias Schumann told AFP.
Vinokourov, 30, suffered several torn ligaments to his right shoulder after the fall during the second stage of the Tour of Switzerland on Sunday and will remain hospitalized for a further two days.
He was also forced out of the Tour de France two years ago with injury.
“It’s a very difficult period for him because he was getting stronger,” said team spokesman Olaf Ludwig.
Ludwig said it would be three weeks before Vinokourov gets back on a bike and that it was too early to say whether the rider would make the Olympic Games in eight weeks time.
Hunter wins in Switzerland
South African Robert Hunter(Rabobank) won the third stage of the Tour of Switzerland on Monday, a 185km run between Rheinfelden and Juraparc-Vallorbe.
Hunter sprinted home some two seconds ahead of Swiss rider Gregory Rast and Jurgen Van Gooolen of Belgium.
Race favorite Jan Ullrich arrived in 3min 59sec off the pace but the German T-Mobile rider holds the overall race lead with a two-second advantage on home hope Oscar Camenzind.
The T-Mobile team lead a breakaway group from the 52km mark along with Hunter, Rast, Belgian duo Jurgen Van Goolen and Peter Wuyts, and Italy’s Alberto Ongarato, during which they built up a 10 minute lead.
Hunter and Rast broke away from the group some 4km from the line, with the South African allowing his Swiss rival to all the legwork, sticking just behind his wheel, and then making the break.
“I knew well that he was under pressure being Swiss and with the Phonak team. I took advantage of that,” said Hunter, after his fourth success this season after two stage wins and the overall Tour of Qatar.
The 26-year-old Hunter, who was third in Sunday’s stage, once again demonstrated impressive sprinting skills, which Rast could not match.