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Vanendert's operation ends season

By Jean-François Quénet in Grenoble, France

Up and coming climber Jelle Vanendert has undergone an operation after a heavy crash while descending the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré's col de Cucheron at kilometre 93 on the last stage. The young Belgian had a promising performance at the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, finishing 10th on Stage 4, where he won the sprint from the group of favourites.

On Sunday Vanendert was counter attacking in the mountains together with compatriot Maxime Monfort, but he missed the third corner of the Cucheron descent. The accident wasn't noticed until Italian Manuel Quinziato also slipped at the same place and informed the officials that Vanendert was laying on the ground on the side of the road.

The Belgian rider was yelling from the ravine but nobody heard him. Motorbikes and team cars passed through without realising a rider was down. Thanks to Quinziato's misfortune, Vanendert was evacuated by helicopter to the hospital of Grenoble where he underwent an operation on his left hip on Sunday night.

Vanendert was considered by Française des Jeux for its 2008 Tour de France roster, but the accident has ended his season. Vanendert will be transferred from Grenoble to Belgium on Tuesday or Wednesday. Considering the time necessary for recovering from such a medical intervention, his 2008 season is over.

"It wasn't sure though but now it's out of question," said team manager Marc Madiot explained. "But I'll definitely offer him a contract for next year."

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