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Tour of California field shrinks after Thursday’s stage

PASO ROBLES, California (VN) — World champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) and race aggressor Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) were among the riders who left the Amgen Tour of California Thursday.

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PASO ROBLES, Calif. (VN) — World champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo), strongman Jens Voigt (Leopard-Trek) and Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) were among the riders who left the Amgen Tour of California Thursday.

Hushovd, who was in Wednesday’s breakaway, dropped out early on stage five. Jacques-Maynes broke his left collarbone in an eight-man crash during the stage. And Voigt decided not to start Friday’s stage six after an X-ray at Paso Robles hospital disclosed a fractured left wrist.

Hushovd dropped out near the first feed zone on Thursday, saying he’s been feeling poorly all week.

“I haven’t been feeling well since I arrived, and today I just felt empty,” Hushovd said in a team statement. “I couldn’t continue. I’m very disappointed to leave the team and the race. I would have liked to finish because the last day was a goal for me. I wish the team luck. I’m proud of what we have done here so far.”

Jacques-Maynes, meanwhile, crashed in cross winds as the race paralleled Highway 101.

“It was cross-windy and someone crashed in front of him,” said Bissell director Omer Kem. “He was stable and didn’t hit his head. Other than the collarbone he’s fine.”

Jacques-Maynes’s brother Andy, who left the Amgen tour in 2009 after a major crash on Highway 1, also hit the deck on Thursday. He was able to remount and finished 110th at 4:10.

Saxo Bank’s Gustav Larsson and Sky’s Alex Dowsett also left the race after the crash that took out Ben Jacques-Maynes. Larsson suffered cuts, road rash and a mild head injury, but was released from hospital. Dowsett was hospitalized for observation.

Earlier, at least four riders did not take the start in Seaside: Bert Grabsch (HTC-Highroad), Nic Hamilton (Jelly Belly), Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Sky) and Chad Hartley (Kenda-5 hr Energy). Hartley, suffering from allergies, did not finish stage four.