Simon Gerrans of Team Sky, Katusha’s team leader Vladimir Karpets and Footon-Servetto’s Fabio Felline, the youngest rider in this year’s race, have all pulled out of the Tour de France through injury.
Each of the withdrawals was announced yesterday on the first rest day of this year’s Tour de France at Morzine-Avoriaz, with Gerrans and Felline both involved in the crash early on in Saturday’s stage that also involved Cadel Evans and Lance Armstrong..
Gerrans suffered a broken arm in that incident but battled through to the finish in Morzine-Avoriaz and his loss will be a blow to Team Sky as Bradley Wiggins looks to get his Tour de France back on track after slipping almost four minutes behind overall leader Evans.
The Australian, who had also been checked over in hospital following a crash on Stage 2 that left him with a black eye and stitches, told the Team Sky website: “Obviously I'm very disappointed - I've had the sort of Tour de France you'd rather forget.”
He continued: "I'm absolutely gutted that I'm not going to be able to help the other guys over the next two weeks."
Katusha announced that hospital tests had revealed that Karpets had been riding with a broken bone in his palm that he sustained when he crashed during Monday’s Stage 2 and that he would leave the race to concentrate on preparing for the Vuelta.
In a statement on the team website, Karpets said that he was disappointed that the injury, which meams he can’t put any pressure on his hand, had forced him to abandon the race for which he had spent months preparing.
Meanwhile Felline, at 20 years of age the youngest rider in the race, has withdrawn as a result of contusions received during the crash, although reports in France suggest that Footon-Servetto had alreasy been planning to withdraw him after the Tour’s first week.
Following the latest withdrawals, 14 of the 197 riders who started the Prologue in Rotterdam have now left the race, and the full list is shown below.
Simon Gerrans - Team Sky
Vladimir Karpets - Katusha
Fabio Felline - Footon-Servetto
Juan José Oroz - Euskaltel-Euskadi
Stijn Vandenbergh - Katusha
Amets Txurruka - Euskaltel-Euskadi
Niki Terprstra - Milram
David Le Lay - AG2R-La Mondiale
Christian Vandevelde - Garmin-Transitions
Frank Schleck - Team Saxo Bank
Adam Hansen - HTC-Columbia
Mickael Delage - Omega Pharma-Lotto
Manuel Cardoso - Footon-Servetto
Mathias Frank - BMC Racing
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.