TOMBLAINE, France - Canadian Ryder Hesjedal, the Giro d'Italia champion, has withdrawn from the Tour de France after sustaining a left leg and hip injury during the crash-marred sixth stage of the race.
His Garmin-Sharp team said before the start of Stage 7 on Saturday that Hesjedal is not able to pedal normally. The 31-year-old from Victoria was the team leader in the Tour's general classification race.
Team doctor Prentice Steffen said "the injury would only be worsened if he tried to ride today."
Hesjedal was among at least two dozen riders caught up in a nasty crash with 26 kilometres left to go on Friday. He lost more than 13 minutes and dropped to 108th overall.
"It's very disappointing to leave the Tour this way," Hesjedal said in a statement. "I was in good form and feeling comfortable, just really settling in to the first week with an eye on the mountains.
"I only took a few days off the bike after the Giro before I started training again, and I have been very focused on doing a great Tour. It's a huge disappointment. But the team still has a strong group of riders here and they will still do great things.
"I'll go home, keep working with the medical staff on my recovery, and refocus everything on the Olympics. I will be rooting for them from home and I wish everyone luck for the rest of the Tour."
Hesjedal had started the stage in ninth place, 18 seconds back.
Seven other riders did not start the stage, taking the number of riders knocked out in Friday's crashes to 12, including three-time world champion Oscar Freire.
Garmin-Sharp, which won the team competition at last year's Tour, was hurt badly in the crash.
Christian Vande Velde, David Millar, Johan Vansummeren and Tom Danielson all sustained injuries of varying degrees, as well as Hesjedal.
Danielson was taken from the site of the crash to a local hospital via ambulance, Preliminary x-rays were negative but an exam revealed that he reinjured the shoulder he separated in the crash on Stage 3 and sustained other injuries that included a separated left shoulder, sprained neck, chest contusion and multiple extensive deep abrasions.
Vansummeren finished the stage but also ended up in hospital. He suffered a sprain to his right shoulder and upper back along with multiple abrasions.
"Clearly, this will mean a change in strategy for the team," said team boss Jonathan Vaughters. "We’ll be looking for stage wins, possibly the KOM (King of the Mountain) jersey and ways to animate the race."
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