Tiesj Benoot became the fourth rider to abandon the 2018 Tour de France, deciding against starting stage five following a crash on Tuesday’s stage to Sarzeau.
Benoot was one of a number of riders involved in a large crash with five kilometres remaining, which also saw Polish Lotto-Soudal team-mate Tomasz Marczynski come down with both men riding across the line well back from the main field.
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However although Marczynski is able to continue having only suffered a bruised left knee which he banged on his handlebars, the race will go on without Benoot who rode across the line in last place yesterday with blood pouring down his face.
According to a statement by Lotto-Soudal, Benoot suffered “a second degree dislocation of the AC joint in his right shoulder, a bruise of the ribs, the right shoulder blade and left wrist, he has abrasions on his hips, back, arms and legs and cuts at his right eyebrow and the back of his head.” The cuts to his right eyebrow and head also required stitches.
“Of course the Tour is a race where you want to continue as long as possible, but I don’t think that I could hold my handlebars safely” Benoot said on Wednesday morning.
“I haven’t seen footage of the crash, but I think a Movistar rider – most likely Quintana – had to pull on his brakes in front of me and I wasn’t able to avoid him. I think that I was the first rider who crashed.
“It’s a big disappointment as the Tour hadn’t really got going for me and André [Greipel] was getting closer to a stage victory. Things were going in the right direction and Wednesday and Thursday’s stages were the first ones that I’d personally targetted.”
Benoot is not the only rider who won’t be on the start line of Wednesday’s stage, with Ag2r La Mondiale’s Axel Domont, who was brought down in the same crash as Benoot, abandoning with a broken collarbone.