Italy?s Damiano Cunego (Lampre) did not start today?s 19th stage of the Tour de France from Roanne to Montlucon after his nasty crash during stage 18.

Cunego cut his chin and his jersey was left in tatters after hitting a wall at speed after 35km of the stage. He managed to make it to the finish thanks to help from four team mates but his injuries made it impossible for him to continue. As the Tour headed northwest towards Paris, Cunego headed east back to his home in Verona.

?I had five stitches put in my chin last night in hospital but that isn?t the big problem, I just couldn?t sit in the saddle and pedal, I can?t breath. There?s no point in me suffering any more.? Cunego said.

Cunego crashed when his bike got stuck in a gulley as the peloton crossed a bridge after 35km. He hit a wall with his chest and chin and was clearly in pain. He got back on his bike, was treated by the race doctor but was slightly concussed and in shock. His team mates pushed and encouraged him to carry on but Cunego finished the stage 20-12 behind stage winner Marcus Burghardt (Columbia).

ITALIAN HOPES FOR BETTER FORM IN OLYMPIC ROAD RACE

The 26 year-old Italian was considered an overall contender at the start of the Tour de France and missed the Giro d?Italia in May to focus on preparing for the Tour. He rode well in the early Cholet time trial but the gradually lost time in the mountains and struggled to finish in the lead group in the Alps.

Cunego will sit down with the Lampre team to analyse what went wrong at the Tour de France but is hoping to recover quickly from his crash and try and find some form for the road race at the Beijing Olympics.

?I?m sorry I?ve had to quit and it?s been a terrible Tour de France for me. It?s been really tough, I?ve been unlucky and I haven?t got any results. I hope I can turn things around for the Olympics and then the world championships in Italy in September.?

Tour de France 2008Damiano Cunego is nursed by Lampre team-mates after crashing on stage 18 of the Tour. Photo by Graham Watson



TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS

Stage 18: Burghardt shows that Columbia can win without Cav

Stage 17: Sastre wins on Alpe d’Huez, takes lead

Stage 16: Dessel wins

Stage 15: Schleck takes lead in the Alps

Stage 14: Oscar Freire wins in Digne-les-Bains

Stage 13: Cavendish takes fourth win

Stage 12: Cavendish makes it three

Stage 11: Arvesen wins

Stage 10: Evans takes yellow jersey by one second

Stage nine: Ricco wins in the Pyrenees

Stage eight: Cavendish wins again in Toulouse

Stage seven: Sanchez takes action-packed stage

Stage six: Ricco storms to win

Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win

Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead

Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break

Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint

Stage one: Valverde wins

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS

Schlecks’ father’s car searched

Analysis: tactical battle on L’Alpe d’Huez [stage 17]

Schleck promises to attack main rivals

Schleck ready to defend Tour lead [stage 15]

Rest day news round-up [July 21]

Saunier Duval riders: “We are honest”

Cavendish talks to Cycling Weekly after quitting Tour

Schleck savours first ever Tour de France jersey [stage 15]

Comment: Why Cav is right to go home today

Cavendish pulls out of the Tour

Barloworld to end cycling sponsorship

Ricco speaks on Italian television

Cavendish joins the all-time greats

Saunier Duval sack Ricco and Piepoli

Tour bosses say fight against doping continues

Ricco denies doping at the Tour

Saunier Duval pull out of Tour

Tour’s top ten changes

Ricco positive for EPO at Tour

Analysis: Tour de France rest day summary

Cavendish battles through Pyrenees

Evans suffers but takes yellow jersey [stage 10]

Analysis: Hautacam shakes up 2008 Tour

Ricco silences critics with solo attack in Pyrenees [stage nine]

Cavendish talks about his second stage win [stage eight]

Beltran heads home but doubts remain about other Tour riders

David Millar: the dope controls are working

Manuel Beltran tests positive for EPO at the Tour

Comment: How the Tour rediscovered its spirit

Doping back in Tour de France headlines

Millar: close but no cigar in Super-Besse [stage six]

Super-Besse shows form of main contenders [stage six]

Millar to go for yellow [stage six]

Team Columbia’s reaction to Cavendish’s win [stage five]

Cavendish talks about his Tour stage win

Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]

Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]

Who is Romain Feillu?

Cavendish disappointed with stage two result

Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey

Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?

Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec

Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win

Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS

Stage 18

Stage 17

Stage 15

Stage 14

Stage 13

Stage 12

Stage 11

Stage 11

Stage 10

Stage nine

Stage eight

Stage seven

Stage six

Stage five

Stage four

Stage three

Stage two

Stage one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: BLOGS

Life at the Tour part five

Life at the Tour part four

Life at the Tour part three

Life at the Tour part two

Life at the Tour part one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE

Tour de France 2008 homepage>>

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Day by day summary>>

Route & stages>>

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