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."
Tour de France 2012: Latest news
The Feed Zone: Tour news round-up (July 5)
Celebrating the Tour's lead-out men
Liquigas's yellow and green jersey aim at Tour
Brailsford: Sky on the front for Cav and Wiggins
Fourth Tour crash for Farrar
Greipel on a roll at the Tour
Cavendish and Eisel expected to continue after stage four crash
Injury report: Tour stage four
Garmin-Sharp adjust Tour de France plans after injury problems
Sky down to eight after Siutsou crash
Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list
Tour 2012: Who will win?
Tour de France 2012 provisional start list
Tour de France 2012 team list
Tour de France 2012: Stage reports
Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades
Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes
Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne
Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory
Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt
Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second
Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs
Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour's time trials
CW's Tour de France podcasts
Blog: Tour presentation - chasing dreams and autographs
Comment: Cavendish the climber
Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries
Stage six by Graham Watson
Stage five by Graham Watson
Stage four by Graham Watson
Stage three by Graham Watson
Stage two by Andy Jones
Stage two by Graham Watson
Stage one by Graham Watson
Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones
Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler
Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2012: Team presentation
Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce
Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage
Stage five live coverage
Stage four live coverage
Stage three live coverage
Cycling Weekly's live text coverage schedule
Tour de France 2012: TV schedule
ITV4 live schedule
British Eurosport live schedule
Tour de France 2012: Related links
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
Brief history of the Tour de France
Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever
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