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McEwen not seriously injured

Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto)

Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto) (Image credit: João Dias)

Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto) hit the ground Friday in a crash during the third stage of the Volta ao Algarve hard enough to be taken to the hospital, but the tough little Australian wasn't seriously injured. "I came away with just a scare," he told Het Nieuwsblad. "There is a deep flesh wound to my left elbow, which is swollen and stiff. But it's not that bad. I dropped out because I didn't want to take any chances."

The Silence-Lotto rider went down when his bike slipped out on the wet pavement on a a descent, landing on his elbow. To add to the horror, an accompanying motorcycle slid on the same spot and came to rest only inches away from him. "That was scarey, but nothing more," he said.

The 35 year-old was planning to fly home again on Saturday and hoped to be training again by Sunday. "It is important that the rest of my spring not be endangered. I will get back on my bike as soon as possible." The Queenslander's next planned races are Omloop Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne next weekend, and "are certainly not going in danger."

He wasn't the only Silence-Lotto to leave the race early, as team-mates Glen d'Hollander and Bert Roesems also did not finish.