By Laura Weislo
Rock Racing lost its leader and the holder of the mountains classification jersey, Francesco Mancebo, on Saturday's stage into Pasadena. The Spaniard crashed on the descent of the day's single classified climb and was taken to the hospital. His team said that Mancebo was receiving medical attention at Huntington Memorial hospital in Pasadena, but as of Saturday evening they were still awaiting confirmation of his injuries.
"We believe he has suffered a concussion as well as a broken hand and elbow. The fact he is unable to continue the race does not in any way diminish his accomplishments or those of the team," a team spokesperson said. "We've lost two incredible riders in Paco and Victor Hugo Pena, but that's bike racing. This is such an exciting team and we are incredibly proud of everything we've achieved this week."
Mancebo held the lead in three classifications for one day after going on a solo breakaway on last Sunday's stage into Santa Rosa. He led the overall race, sprints and mountains jerseys until Leipheimer took over the general classification on Monday. The Spaniard then relinquished control of the sprints jersey when Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) took the lead on stage five in Paso Robles. He held a nearly unassailable lead in the mountains classification with two stages to go, but after his crash that jersey passed to Saxo Bank's Jason McCartney.
Mancebo's teammate Glen Chadwick said he didn't even know that Mancebo had crashed during the stage. "Some team's riders asked us if Paco was OK - and we said we didn't even know he'd crashed. There were no communications on the radio. Apparently he's cut up and has a concussion, but will be OK."
"It's not a good thing, but we'll be on the attack again tomorrow."