Team Garmin-Sharp suffered in numbers in the Tour de France’s sixth stage to Metz today. Due to a mega-crash only 35km out, mountain domestique Tom Danielson abandoned. Johan Van Summeren and Ryder Hesjedal also suffered, casting doubt over their continued participation in this Tour.
Hesjedal, winner of the Giro d’Italia just over month a go, rolled in 13-24 minutes behind stage winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale). He went straight to the bus without saying a word and limped out around 15 minutes for an anti-doping control. While he got into the team car, he responded to one question and said, “Bad day.”
It’s uncertain, but Van Summeren appears likely to abandon. His kit was shredded and revealed road rash up his back and on his right side. Hesjedal might possibly be forced to quit, as well.
“It’s the worst crash I’ve ever been in,” Garmin’s David Millar said when he arrived under a rain shower. He crashed too, cutting his forearm. David Zabriskie escaped earlier in the day and finished with the main group at 55 seconds back. The other Garmin riders finished with Hesjedal, Van Summeren three minutes further back.
“I think we were doing about 70km/h when it happened. God knows how it happened, some idiot… I’d like to see how it happened. It just shouldn’t happen like that.”
Bradley Wiggins (Sky), Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) were the big GC names to avoid the crash and ride clear towards Metz. Fränk Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank) lost between two to three and a half minutes.
“I think Ryder is out as well,” Millar continued. “We’ll see, but he’s in a bad way.”
Christian Vande Velde is racing his 10th edition of the Tour de France. The crash shocked him.
“I’ve never been a part of such a bad first week,” Vande Velde said. “I have no clue what happened, it was just a horrible crash and a lot of people got hurt real bad back there. You never want to see that. We all went down. It’s bad.
“Ryder hurt himself pretty good. His leg’s hurt. Tommy D’s out.”
General Manager Jonathan Vaughters was not at the finish, only one week into the race. Yesterday, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf wrote an article that said that he and his riders, Zabriskie and Vande Velde, might be suspended for six months as part of the US doping investigation into Lance Armstrong. He’s due back on the race tomorrow.
“It’s been very disappointing all together in the last couple of days. It’s a week to forget,” the team’s sports director, Allan Peiper said.
“It was a disaster of a day for us… The GC dream is over.”
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