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Crashes and injuries in Dauphiné

Paul Martens (Rabobank) before the race start.

Paul Martens (Rabobank) before the race start. (Image credit: Bert Geerts/

Several crashes and accidents claimed a number of victims in the first stage of the Criterium du Dauphiné on Monday. One of the most seriously injured was Rabobank's Paul Martens.

Martens was taken to hospital after crashing in the finale of the stage. On Tuesday morning, the team announced that he had not only broken ribs but had also torn his kidney. The German will stay in hospital several days for observation, and will be out of racing for several weeks.

Martens was not involved in the mass crash some 15 km before the finish, but went down with only 2.5km to go. He and a Cofidis rider misjudged a sharp curve. “He fell first and I was so shocked I braked wrong,” Martens wrote on “I went with full speed with my chest against the guard rail.”

Four of his Rabobank teammates were involved in an earlier crash, but only Dennis van Winden was injured,complaining about pain in his hand.  He was originally expected to start today, but it was decided that he should instead fly back to the Netherlands for further examinations, the team said.

Omega Pharma-Lotto's Jean-Christophe Peraud was involved in an unusual accident. He drove into the back of a car, and went right over his handlebars. “Fortunately there were no fractures found afterwards, but our French time trial champion is scraped from head to toe,” the team reported.

Mauro Finetto of Liquigas was involved in the mass crash, and suffered a broken collarbone. RadioShack's Haimar Zubeldia also broke his wrist in the same crash.