Garmin-Transitions general classification hope Christian Vande Velde has withdrawn from the Tour de France after suffering two broken ribs after a crash-plagued second stage. Vande Velde was caught in two accidents on the Stockeu, which also left him with left eyelid lacerations that required multiple stitches.
The American rider was obviously disappointed with the news, and made his feelings towards the day’s stage clear. “No one wants to leave the Tour de France,” he said. “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 tomorrow. I wish everyone luck – my team and all the other riders at this Tour de France,” he added. “I don’t ever want to have to see another day like today, whether I’m in the race or not.”
Team director Jonathan Vaughters said he was proud all of his riders finished the day’s stage, despite the injuries they carried. Vande Velde is the only Garmin rider that won’t start today’s third stage, which has an obvious impact on the team’s plans for the event.
“Clearly, this will mean a change in the general strategy for team Garmin-Transitions,” said Vaughters. “We will focus on the multitude of talented riders we have on this team. We’ll be looking for stage wins and ways to animate the race.
“I’m proud of the ride our team did today,” he added. “We’ve lost Christian, and we’re all sad about that. He’s had a tough season and has preserved and pushed himself like few other athletes could.”
Vande Velde lost nearly 10 minutes on the main general classification contenders, with the pain too much to stay with the likes of fellow crash victim Andy Schleck. He described both crashes, saying he hit a pole after being flung into a ditch on the descent.
“I crashed once right before the Stockeu. Riders crashed in front of me and I wasn't able to avoid them, so I went down,” he said. “We all knew it was important to be at the front over the climb and at that point, I felt ok and got back on and made it back to the front to get up Stockeu.
“Then another rider lost control in front of me and again, I couldn't avoid it,” he added. “I crashed and landed 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 and I couldn’t get out of the saddle to make it back on.”
Team sprinter Tyler Farrar will start stage three, despite suffering extensive injuries. He sprained his left elbow, fractured his left wrist and suffered a significant hematoma and abrasion.
“Tomorrow is going to be painful for Tyler,” said Vaughters. “He’s got significant injuries, so starting alone is a huge step, and from there we’ll have to see how he goes. But regardless, a good, strong team remains at this Tour and we’ll be a part of the action throughout.”