Vande Velde suffers blood clot and loose collarbone screw in crash, continued Tour de France participation uncertain
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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Vande Velde suffers blood clot and loose collarbone screw in crash, continued Tour de France participation uncertain

by Shane Stokes at 5:18 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
Nervous wait for American rider, three GC riders on Garmin-Sharp team affected by crash injuries

Christian Vande VeldeAmerican rider Christian Vande faces an uncertain few hours about whether or not he can continue in the Tour d de France following a crash towards the end of today’s fifth stage of the race.

The Chicagoan hit the deck approximately fifteen kilometres from the finish and suffered injuries which may lead to him having to quit the final Tour of his career.

He underwent medical assessment after the stage conclusion and the Garmin-Sharp team have now revealed that his continued participation will depend on how his condition is tomorrow morning.

“Christian has plates in his collarbone from previous injuries,” explained team doctor Prentice Steffen. “After today's crash, an ultrasound and x-ray show a blood clot in a neck muscle, the left sternocleidomastoid, and a loosened screw in his clavicle plate. From what we can tell, it is possible that the screw may have jabbed a muscle.

“Preliminary x-rays do not show a fracture but it probably flexed a bit in the crash and disrupted a screw. Its an unusual injury and we will monitor him overnight and make a determination in the morning as to whether or not he will start the stage.”

Vande Velde finished fourth in the 2008 Tour de France but since then has experienced several big crashes which prevented him from building further on that performance. He crashed out of the 2009 Giro d’Italia, but was able to return and finish a solid seventh in the Tour.

He also crashed out of the 2010 Giro d’Italia and then was forced to withdraw from that year’s Tour de France due to two broken ribs. In 2011 he rode support for top ten finisher Tom Danielson and placed sixteenth overall in the Tour; last year, he also fell in the race and had to be content with sixtieth, although he did place second on stage fifteen.

His persistence paid off when he went on to win the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. This year, he fractured his metacarpal in the 2013 Volta a Catalunya, rode the Giro d’Italia to build form and then came to the Tour determined to ride well in his final appearance in the race.

Because of that run of misfortune, his supporters and the rider himself will be frustrated by today’s accident. The team hopes he will be able to continue, but Steffen said that the decision will be an informed rather than an emotional one.

“Christian's health is the most important thing to us, so we will evaluate him again tomorrow and determine next steps at that time,” he said.

Danielson and Hesjedal also affected by crashes:

Team-mate Tom Danielson also hit the deck today, although his injuries are not serious, according to team directeur sportif Charly Wegelius. Also doing fine is Ryder Hesjedal, who crashed on stage one and was diagnosed today with a cracked rib arising from that fall.

“He has been suffering a bit from breathing problems and wasn’t able to pull on the handlebars the way he would like to,” team-mate Dan Martin told VeloNation today. “We got it checked, and it turns out he has a fractured rib.”

Hesjedal confirmed that he will press on and put up with the pain of the injury. “I have had some discomfort since the crash I was involved in during stage one. A scan today confirmed a fracture so at least now we know what we're dealing with,” he said.

“A lot of times with rib injuries fractures don't show up right away so waiting until today we were able to confirm what's going on. There's not much you can do about a fractured rib except for deal with the discomfort so that is what I've been doing and will keep doing.”

Directeur sportif Charly Wegelius is relieved that two out of the two riders are relatively fine. “Ryder and Tom are both ok, so we're happy about that,” he said. “We'll need to see how Christian does tonight and we'll make the call in the morning on whether or not he can start. Of course we - and he - are hopeful that he can but just need to see how things go.”

He said that the mood remains good within the squad and the riders are determined to perform aggressively in the mountains. “The team overall is strong and motivated and our goal is to keep lighting up the race as we roll toward Paris. There is still a lot of racing yet to come and we're proud of how the team is riding.”


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