Hesjedal hoping to continue in Tour de France tomorrow
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Friday, July 06, 2012

Hesjedal hoping to continue in Tour de France tomorrow

by Shane Stokes at 8:28 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
 
Participation uncertain for Giro d’Italia winner and Vansummeren

Johan van SummerenHe went into the race hoping to be the first to achieve the Giro-Tour double since Marco Pantani in 1998 but instead Ryder Hesjedal is now simply hoping to make it to Paris. On what was a very difficult Friday for the Garmin-Sharp squad, the Canadian team leader hit the deck hard, lost over thirteen minutes, and suffered injuries which could yet put him out of the Tour.

Hesjedal has suffered a huge hematoma to his left hip and leg and the team’s medical staff will decide tomorrow if he and 2011 Paris-Roubaix winner Johan Vansummeren will be able to keep going.

The development is a huge blow for Hesjedal, who was having his best-ever season and had appeared in good form thus far in the race. “I got caught up in the crash like countess others and immediately realized that my left leg wasn’t good. Once I got up and on a bike, I couldn’t pedal with any force, the pain was too much,” he said. “The team helped me get to the line, but just getting there was all I was able to do. At that point, it was just about getting to the finish.”

Hesjedal was very unlucky but one who was even more so afflicted was last year’s eighth-place finisher and then-top US rider Tom Danielson. He suffered a separated shoulder on Tuesday and injured the same area again today, as well as damaging his other shoulder and other areas of his body.

The climber sat on the ground after the pileup, clearly dazed and very sore. His team kit was torn badly and he opted not to continue.

However Hesjedal doesn’t want to follow him out of the race, and will do all he can to remain in the mix.

“I’ll work with the team medical staff tonight and try and get some rest. We’ll have to go from there,” he said. “I’m not sure at this point what tomorrow holds. It’s the Tour so you want to do everything you can, but we have to wait and see. That was one of the worst crashes I’ve ever seen and I hope that everyone else who went down is ok.

Two others also hit the deck during the stage; Christian Vande Velde and David Millar. Irish climber Dan Martin told VeloNation about their falls when speaking from the team hotel.

“David and Christian both crashed twice today. They were remarkably okay, actually,” he said. “In the big crash they were in the second wave of guys, so they ended up landing on bodies and bikes. Although they have got a few chainring scrapes and they will be covered in bruises tomorrow, they came off relatively lightly.

“But with Van Summeren we don’t really know what will happen as far as the start tomorrow. He was really bad as well.”

X-rays taken this evening didn’t reveal any fractures, but the Belgian has been affected by a sprain to his right shoulder and upper back plus with multiple abrasions.

Danielson was even more badly off, reinjuring the right shoulder he had landed on three days ago. His left shoulder is now also separated, and he also has multiple deep abrasions, chest contusion and a sprained neck.

The one bright spot in a difficult day was Dave Zabriskie’s aggressiveness and his combativity prize. He attacked early on in a small group and jumped clear inside the final three kilometres, holding a solo lead until one kilometre to go. His recapture was frustrating, but also shows fighting spirit on a day when the team was having a brutal time.

Team CEO and directeur sportif Jonathan Vaughters said the team would reposition itself going forward. “Clearly, this will mean a change in strategy for the team. We’ll be looking for stage wins, possibly the KOM jersey and ways to animate the race,” he said.

“It was a tough day but all things considered, spirits are good. These guys are good friends and a good support system for each other, they know how to be a team and that makes me immensely proud. Zabriskie had a great ride today, and I’m proud of how all the guys rode. Just crossing the line after a day like this speaks volumes.” He added that he tomorrow was certain to be painful for anyone who crashed today. ‘Starting alone will be a big step but this is the Tour de France, and we go onward and set new goals. There's a lot of racing still to be done,” he said.



 

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