Despite injuries, Vande Velde and Zubeldia push on in Tour de France
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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Despite injuries, Vande Velde and Zubeldia push on in Tour de France

by Shane Stokes at 6:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
Riders continue in race, hope to get through stage without further problems

Christian Vande VeldeFaced with the prospect of having to withdraw from the final Tour de France of his career, Garmin-Sharp rider Christian Vande Velde has been able to push on in the race, and will take to the start of today’s sixth stage.

The former fourth place finisher fell heavily approximately fifteen kilometres from the finish of yesterday’s race to Marseilles. Medically assessed after the stage, he was diagnosed with issues which could have forced him to stop the Tour.

“Christian has plates in his collarbone from previous injuries,” explained team doctor Prentice Steffen yesterday. “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.”

Now, having had time to rest and to get a few hours’ sleep, Vande Velde and the team have decided that he will press on. The injury will be monitored today, but he will hope to get through the flat stage without major issues and to continue recovering in the days ahead.

He is set to retire at the end of the year and wants to have a strong performance in his final Tour.

Also continuing despite injury is the RadioShack Leopard rider Haimar Zubeldia, who fractured a bone in his hand yesterday when he came down with fifty kilometres to go. The rider was assessed with ASO’s mobile x-ray unit, and the problem was pinpointed.

“Haimar has a fracture of the metacarpal bone to the left of the middle of his left hand. Whether he continues or not is a matter of pain,” said team doctor Andreas Gösele yesterday evening. “We will see how things develop overnight, and tomorrow will be the real deciding factor.”

Team spokesman Tim Vanderjeugd confirmed Zubeldia’s continued participation to VeloNation today. “Haimar has got a fracture, but he is going to go on with a brace on the hand,” he said.

Zubeldia will also have an extra layer of handlebar tape to provide him with additional cushioning.

Earlier, it was confirmed that double top five finisher Jurgen Van den Broeck would have to stop his Tour. The Lotto Belisol rider crashed close to the finish yesterday and suffered a knee injury which has worsened overnight. Also out is Ag2r La Mondiale’s Maxime Bouet.


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