Tour de France: disappointment for Garmin Transitions as Hunter is forced out
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tour de France: disappointment for Garmin Transitions as Hunter is forced out

by Conal Andrews at 7:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
 
Fractured elbow proves to be too much to handle

Robbie HunterThe battle-scarred Garmin Transitions team today lost one of its key riders from the Tour de France, with South African sprinter Robbie Hunter being forced to pull out due to a cracked elbow.

The former Tour stage winner fell at the start of yesterday’s stage, but managed to reach the finish in Gap. Post-stage x-rays revealed that he had sustained a facture to the head of the radial bone in his elbow and overnight, this flared up and made riding today impossible.

He lined out this morning with the intention of battling onwards, but things proved too much even before the flag dropped. He was hugely disappointed to have to call it a day, but said via his Twitter feed that he’d be back a little later in the season.

“So that’s it, TDF over,” he wrote. “Tried to ride to sign on but no chance to even hold the bar, let alone use the brakes. It really sucks to sit in the team bus, kit on, and watch your team-mates go to the start. Disappointed big time. I had big ambitions for this Tour.”

The Garmin-Transitions team had a very strong performance last year, with Bradley Wiggins taking fourth overall and Christian Vande Velde fighting back from his own injuries to net eighth. Tyler Farrar was second, third and fourth on stages.

Wiggins has since left but the team headed into this year’s race counting on big performances. However bad luck struck early on, with a series of crashes affecting riders on the team. Vande Velde went out with a broken rib, while Farrar fractured a bone in his hand and hasn’t been able to sprint at full strength. David Millar was also amongst those who hit the deck.

The best performance to date has been the second places achieved by Julian Dean and Farrar on stages five and seven, plus the third place in the prologue by Millar. The squad has never taken a stage win in the Tour and will battle on aiming for that goal. Ryder Hesjedal is twelfth overall and will be vying for a place in the top ten.

Hunter’s withdrawal is a blow to the team as today’s stage is expected to result in a bunch finish. He would have been an important part of the leadout push for Farrar.

The South African vows to come back and take victories once he has recovered. “On the bright side, the season ain’t over yet. Get the arm sorted and come back winning. Plenty of races to come. Everything happens for a reason.”

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