By Ben Delaney
Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) hit the deck within sight of the finish line on stage 1 of the Tour of Missouri, and X-rays later disclosed that he fractured a bone in his hand. Still, he said he plans to start stage 2 — without a cast.
“Luck hasn’t been on my side this year,” said Vande Velde, who crashed out of the Giro d’Italia this year on stage 3.
In St. Louis Monday, Vande Velde was coming around the final corner with about 750 meters to go when a few riders hit the ground as the sprint battle wound up. Vande Velde had nowhere to go.
“I crashed into them first, and then into a fire hydrant,” he said.
Vande Velde fractured the second metacarpal in his left hand. He is not wearing a cast.
“It could have been a lot worse,” he said. “Racing is going to be painful, but I’m the defending champion, and continuing is important to me and my team.”