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>>
News and features>>
All the riders (start list, list of abandons)>>
Day by day summary>>
Route & stages>>
Teams and riders>>
About the Tour>>