Christian Vande Velde’s (Garmin-Slipstream) string of bad luck continued at the Tour of Missouri when he crashed in the closing metres of the opening stage in St. Louis. Doctor’s examinations show the defending champion sustained a hairline fracture at the base of his second metacarpal in his right hand.
“Luck has not been on my side this year,” said Vande Velde, who will attempt to start stage two in St. Genevieve. “I went down in the big crash with 500 metres to go. I crashed into the guys and went down into a fire hydrant. It could have been a lot worse. Racing is going to be painful, but I'm the defending champion and continuing is important to me and my team. I'll be at the start tomorrow."
Signs of a tough-luck season came when Vande Velde crashed during the Giro d’Italia’s third stage in May, where doctors confirmed he has fractured five vertebrae, his pelvis and one rib. He recovered well enough to place eight overall in the Tour de France, only to go down again at the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg, Germany on August 15, injuring his hip.
After some much needed healing time at his home in Illinois, Vande Velde felt recovered enough to defend his title at the Tour of Missouri this week. "Christian's had a hard year, but as he's shown over and over he's an incredibly tough athlete,” said team owner Jonathan Vaughters. “He's determined to start tomorrow and that says a lot about his character."
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