T-Mobile went from the joy of winning stage seven and taking the yellow jersey on Saturday to deep disappointment on Sunday after losing team leader Michael Rogers because of a high speed crash, while Britain?s Mark Cavendish and German Marcus Burghardt also quit during the stage.
The Aussie rider hit the crash barriers on the descent of the Cormet de Roseland, hurting his left knee and right shoulder. He bravely tried to carry on and got half way up the second big climb of the stage but was clearly in severe pain and gradually slowed before stopping at the side of the road and climbing into the T-Mobile team car, 30km from the finish.
Earlier Cavendish climbed off at the feed zone after 77km of the 165km stage. He was dropped early on the stage, as riders attacked off the front, and was always going to struggle to finish the tough Alpine stage in Tignes.
T-Mobile celebrated Linus Gerdemann winning the stage to Le Grand Bornand and taking the yellow jersey on Saturday but have now got down to six riders and lost their team leader. Luxembourg?s Kim Kirchen and Gerdemann are expected to take over as team leaders for the rest of the Tour de France.
The tough eighth stage to Tignes saw numerous crashes. Britain?s Charly Wegelius (Liquigas) also went down, as did Australia?s Stuart O?Grady (CSC).
To add to Australia’s woes, Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto) was eliminated from the race for finishing outside the time limit. Danilo Napolitano (Lampre-Fondital) and Cedric Herve (Agritubel) were also eliminated for the same reason.