Team Sky suffered a "devastating" loss today at the Tour de France. On the same roads, where another Brit, Mark Cavendish has been so successful, Sky's classification leader Bradley Wiggins crashed and broke his collarbone.
Team principal, David Brailsford said, "It's a devastating day for the team."
Wiggins abandoned at kilometre 167 into the 218-kilometre stage. He had been sitting sixth overall after six days of racing and ahead of the first high-mountain stages. He was 10 seconds behind race leader Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo).
"He was in great shape, he put so much work into his Tour," added Brailsford. "It's a shame we never got to see him go into the mountains because he was in the best shape of his life."
Wiggins placed third in Paris-Nice, won the TT stage at Bayern-Rundfahrt, the Critérium du Dauphiné stage race, and the British championships road and time trial titles.
After fourth in 2009 and 24th last year at Sky's debut Tour de France, Wiggins was ready to prove himself. His Tour came skidding to a stop, though.
His team-mates were helping him move ahead towards the stage's final, a crash stopped Wiggins. Brailsford explained that the riders behind Wiggins "piled into him at great speed." He added that the nervousness in the stage is due the tight-knit classification ahead of the race's first mountain stage tomorrow.
Geraint Thomas explained that after the crash, he slowed and waited with Simon Gerrans and Ben Swift.
The team's sport directors "finally came on the radio, and said that he broke his collarbone and was out," Thomas said.
"It was gutting for the team."
Thomas lost the white jersey of best young rider as a result. He and Sky's remaining seven riders finished 3-06 minutes behind Cavendish, who led the 84-rider lead group home for his second stage win.
Tour de France 2011: Related links
Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
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