Anthony Charteau has had to abandon the Tour of South Africa on stage one after a bad crash. The Frenchman, winner of the 2010 Tour de France KOM title, dislocated his collarbone when he hit the ground hard with 50 kilometres remaining in the stage that started in Pretoria.
The Team Europcar rider came to fall in no particular race situation and admitted it was entirely his fault. "I looked behind to see where my teammates were and I touched a rear wheel. The crash was inevitable," said the race favourite, who won the Tropicale Amissa Bongo three weeks ago.
The 31-year-old was disappointed as the injury means a setback to his good form. "I have to get an MRI scan back in France to define the degree of the dislocation. Generally, this sort of injury means ten days off the bike. I'm bummed - this injury is definitely annoying. I had made the Tour of South Africa and Cholet Pays-de-Loire my objectives, and I am very disappointed."
Charteau will still be able to race Cholet, the second round of the French Cup on March 20, but perhaps not on the same level. But all in all, he hoped to be back to his current form in one month.
"As regards the rest of the season, it won't change much. At the Critérium International (March 26-27), I will have recovered a great part of my fitness. I could target the stage on Sunday morning..."