Freire, Viganò and others out of Tour de France as crash toll continues in race
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Friday, July 06, 2012

Freire, Viganò and others out of Tour de France as crash toll continues in race

by Shane Stokes at 4:09 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
 
Scarponi regrets losing time, vows to fight back tomorrow

Oscar FreireTriple world champion Oscar Freire has been forced to withdraw from what could be the final Tour de France of his career as a result of a crash which took place early on today’s stage. The Spaniard went down hard and suffered a broken rib in his chest. “He broke the third rib, and the fracture opened a wound in his pleura,” stated his Katusha team this evening.

It added that he would have to stay in hospital for at least three days, after which doctors will be in a position to determine when he will be able to return home.

Freire’s top goals this season are the Olympic road race and the world championships. Pulling out of the Tour so soon and with a bad injury is undoubtedly a setback to his preparation for the former, although in the past he has been able to perform well with a shorter preparation than usual.

Still, his withdrawal will be a big disappointment to his fans. His best placing was seventh on yesterday’s stage, suggesting that he might have been coming into good form.

Several other riders are also out of the race as a result of today’s carnage. Davide Viganò is one of those and, according to his Lampre-ISD team-mate Danilo Hondo, the crash may have originated with him. “Viganò was putting Petacchi's shoes covers in his jersey, when some riders ahead slowed down. Davide had only one hand on the handlebars, so he could not brake properly and he fell into the ditch on the roadside. Then all the rest of the group crashed, Scarponi too.”

Viganò withdrew then and was taken to hospital in Metz for medical assessment. Also out are Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp), Wout Poels (Vacansoleil DCM) and Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel Euskadi).

Scarponi was one of many general classification riders who lost time as a result of the big crash. He remounted and chased hard but came in as part of a group also containing Janez Brajkovic (Astana), Frank Schleck (RadioShack), Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). They all conceded two minutes nine seconds to the stage winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas Cannondale).

Scarponi rued the loss. "Until today, we had avoid the crashes, but today we could not,” he said. “The crash stopped most of the peloton, so only Marzano could be with me when I tried to chase the lead group.”

He’s now two minutes 42 seconds back in 36th place, but isn’t giving up on his belief that he can have a good Tour. “It's a pity to lose two minutes because of a crash, but this accident doesn't changes my goals,” he insisted. “Tomorrow there will be a stage that could be suitable for me. I hope the right side of the body that was hit in the crash won’t hurt too much.”

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