American Christian Vande Velde will not start stage three of the Tour de France today in Wanze, Belgium. The team Garmin-Transitions rider crashed twice in yesterday’s stage to Spa, fracturing two ribs and cutting his eyelid.
“I worked really hard to get myself ready to be here again and I was just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m indescribably disappointed to not be starting,” said Vande Velde.
“I don’t ever want to have to see another day like today, whether I’m in the race or not.”
Sky’s Bradley Wiggins placed fourth last year thanks to the help of then team-mate Vande Velde. Vande Velde placed eighth, following up on his fourth from 2008.
Yesterday, Vande Velde crashed before the Stockeu climb and then again on the wet descent with many others, including Wiggins, Andy Schleck and Lance Armstrong. The second time he ended in a ditch.
“I’m not sure what I hit; I think it might have been a pole. At that point my eye was bleeding pretty badly and the pain in my side and my back was excruciating. I got back on the bike though, and was coming back with Andy Schleck. I tried to stay with that group, but the pain was too much.”
Vande Velde finished the stage with all eight of his team-mates. Team-mate Tyler Farrar fractured his wrist, but said that he is determined to start in today’s stage to Arenberg and continue on in the race as long as possible.
It “was definitely in my top five worst days on a bike,” added Garmin’s David Millar, who crashed but without serious injuries. “I’m very proud of the fact that all of us finished considering the disparity of some of our injuries. It reflects why our team is what it is, and why I love it.”
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