Ballan and teammates suffer in team test

Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-NGC)

Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-NGC) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Alessandro Ballan, world champion on the road, crashed early in Tour de France's team time trial in Montpellier, on Tuesday. He and teammate David Loosli slid out on the stage's second corner, a left-hand bend.

"Ballan has grazes on his left side, especially on the elbow and on the hip. Loosli didn't have wounds," said team doctor, Matteo Beltemacchi.

Ballan missed much of the spring due to a virus. He returned to racing in the Memorial Pantani on June 6, and raced the Tour de Suisse and Italian Championships prior to the Tour de France.

He is at the Tour de France to try to win a stage in the second or third week.

Ballan and Loosli re-joined their teammates to finish the 39-kilometre time trial, but there was another crash 25 kilometres to go. Angelo Furlan slid and Marzio Bruseghin ran into the back of him.

"We had to face two crashes, three bike changes and Bruseghin is in not perfect shape – I think that all caused us a loss of two minutes," said Directeur Sportif Fabrizio Bontempi.

Bruseghin crashed and injured his wrist and knee on day two. He is the team's classification rider and should ride the strongest in the seven mountain stages.

The team finished 17th despite the crashes, 3:25 behind the winning time of team Astana.

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