Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) has abandoned the Tour de France during the rest day at Morzine after fracturing a bone in the palm of his left hand. The Russian sustained the injury when he was among the fallers in the crash-riddled stage two to Spa last week. X-rays taken after the stage failed to show significant damage and Karpets continued in the race. However, he struggled in Sunday’s first full mountain stage, losing over twenty-one minutes and scans taken on the rest day revealed the true extent of his injury.
“It’s such a pity,” Karpets said. “I couldn’t hold the handlebars any more and it was practically impossible to continue in the Tour de France. It’s a real shame, as we’ve been preparing for this race for months.”
Karpets will now return to his home in Spain to recover ahead of the Vuelta a Espana. “The doctor told me that the full recovery time is around thirty days, so after that I’ll be back getting ready to take on the Vuelta. Today I’m going home to Pamplona and we’ll decide if I need to be operated on.”
Karpets won the white jersey at the 2004 Tour de France. He was lying in 57th place overall after Sunday’s stage to Morzine-Avoriaz.