Van Garderen knocked out of Tour de Romandie by tree branch

Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) was forced out of the Tour de Romandie today during the 184km penultimate stage after being struck in the face by a wayward tree branch. While descending off of the day's first climb, the category 1 Col des Mosses, wind gusting to 60 km/h blew the branch into Van Garderen's face, said a statement released by the BMC Racing Team.

The 23-year-old American, who started the stage just 15 seconds behind race leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky) on general classification, withdrew from the race after completing approximately 50km of stage 4.

Van Garderen required several stitches to his nose but nothing was broken, according to BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa.

"He's doing fine and feeling good," Testa said. "It's just a soft tissue injury, but the cut was pretty deep. He'll have to take it easy for a few days."

Van Garderen's teammate Cadel Evans, the Tour de Romandie's defending champion, had his best result of the race in today's stage with an 8th place finish. He'll start the final stage time trial trailing race leader Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) by 30 seconds overall.

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