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Caisse d'Epargne down a man after massive pile-up

By:
Daniel Simms
Published:
July 15, 2009, 22:15 BST,
Updated:
July 15, 2009, 23:27 BST
Several Caisse d'Epargne riders were involved in a crash on stage 11.

Several Caisse d'Epargne riders were involved in a crash on stage 11.

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Rui Costa expected to withdraw

The narrow roads of the Tour de France's eleventh stage made for nervous racing, and perhaps no team suffered more from a massive pile-up just 24 kilometres into the stage than Caisse d'Epargne.

Five riders from the Spanish squad hit the ground two kilometres before the day's first intermediate sprint in Quincy. The team's sprinter José Joaquín Rojas, Rui Costa, David Arroyo, Luis Pasamontes and Jose Iván Gutiérrez all fell in the same incident.

Costa was the least fortunate of the five. The Portuguese rider finished the stage, but was taken following the race in ambulance to a clinic in Sainte-Marguerite in Auxerre, where he was diagnosed with a possible fracture to his clavicle. He will not start in stage 12, his team announced.

Gutiérrez, who crashed but was not was not hurt explained, “we were riding all on the same line and very fast. Rui Costa touched another rider['s wheel] and between thirty and forty riders crashed.”

Rojas had to be helped up from the ground after suffering from multiple contusions to both buttocks and his back. Pasamontes also suffered from a bruise to his back. Arroyo sustained multiple wounds to both arms and his left knee.

The crash brought the entire race to a halt as riders and team mechanics scrambled to replace damaged equipment and get riders back underway.

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