Crashes continue under treacherous weather in California

Crashes have plagued the opening stages

Crashes have plagued the opening stages (Image credit: Jon Devich)

By Kirsten Robbins in Modesto, California

An ambulance took Bissell's Omar Kem, Cervélo-TestTeam's Ted King and Team Type 1's Ian MacGregor to the Modesto hospital after the riders crashed early in stage three of the Tour of California. They were taken to the Doctor's Medicine Centre of Modesto.

The accidents happened separately. King crashed within the neutral start, re-hashing an old arm injury from last season. The next accident involved Kem who crashed at the crest of the first KOM on Sierra Road, located 16 kilometres into the 167-kilometre road race.

Doctors from the trauma unit at the Doctor Medical Centre confirmed that Kem sustained a broken pelvis on the left side. According to Beth Skau, Bissell's press officer, no surgery is required. "Kem is in a lot of pain but still in good spirits. He has been released from the hospital."

This marks the second loss for the Bissell team. Andy Jacques-Maynes crashed into a parked car midway through the previous stage from Sausalito to Santa Cruz. He suffered a concussion.

MacGregor was not able to make it through a tight corner descending Sierra Road. He came off the road and went into a truck parked in a driveway. According to Sean Weide, Team Type 1 press officer, doctors stitched up his chin.

Only one ambulance was initially available for the peloton, so collecting all the crashed riders was a slow. All were brought to the Doctors Medical Centre of Modesto

Race leader Levi Leipheimer crossed wheels with his teammate Lance Armstrong midway through the stage, causing both riders to go down. According to Leipheimer, he had his head down during a section of strong wind and rain. "It was my fault," said Leipheimer. "I looked down in a windy section and next thing you knew I touched his [Armstrong's] wheel and we were down. Usually you can put your foot down and hold it up but not today - I went down on my ass." Neither rider was injured.

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