Evans' teammate Popovych survives crash
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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Evans' teammate Popovych survives crash

by Agence France-Presse at 2:44 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 

Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych, one of race favourite Cadel Evans' key teammates for the mountain stages, crashed in the first stage of the Tour de France here Saturday.

Popovych was one of several riders who hit the asphalt around 60km from the finish of the undulating 197.5km stage between Brest and here.

Another Silence rider to come crashing down was Belgian Johan Van Summeren, who was left with scrapes and scars on his inner thigh after going through the back windscreen of the Team Columbia car after braking too late as they approached the feed zone.

The Ukrainian, a former teammate of seven-time winner Lance Armstrong, got back on his bike to rejoin the peloton. No details were immediately available of any injuries.

German champion Fabian Wegmann of Gerolsteiner and Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel of Cofidis were caught up in the spill although both managed to get back on their bikes.

The loss of a rider like Popovych could blow a huge hole in Evans' bid to become the first Australian to win the race's yellow jersey.

The Ukrainian's job is to help impose a tough pace on the race's climbs, in a bid to eliminate Evans' rivals, before peeling off once the job is done.

Earlier, Herve Duclos-Lassalle of the Cofidis team was forced out of the race after fracturing his left wrist in a crash.

Duclos-Lassalle, the son of former Paris-Roubaix winner Gilbert, crashed just after the first stage's feed zone when a rider's food bag got tangled in his wheel.

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