July 5, 2010

Here is an update to the status of the Argyle Armada after an unlucky and crash-filled stage 2 of the Tour de France:

Christian Vande Velde - Tour de France, stage 2

A crash-filled Stage 2 of the Tour de France saw five Team Garmin-Transitions riders hit the pavement.

Christian Vande Velde, Tyler Farrar and Julian Dean were all taken to a local hospital where they were evaluated by team and hospital physicians.

Vande Velde suffered a left eyelid laceration requiring multiple stitches, along with two broken ribs. Farrar sprained his left elbow and suffered a significant hematoma and abrasion. He also fractured his left wrist and suffered multiple other contusions and abrasions. Dean suffered a large contusion on his left upper back.

David Millar, who did not go to the hospital for x-rays, suffered a potential broken rib.

All nine Team Garmin-Transitions riders completed today’s stage, demonstrating courage and commitment to their team, the sport, and the Tour de France.

Eight riders will take the start tomorrow, with the exception of team leader Christian Vande Velde. This season, Christian suffered a broken collarbone at the Giro d’Italia, three broken ribs at the Tour du Suisse, and today, suffered two additional broken ribs and multiple contusions. The extent of all of these injuries combined will prevent him from starting Stage 3.

“Clearly this will mean a change in the general strategy for Team Garmin-Transitions,” said CEO and DS Jonathan Vaughters.

“We will focus on the multitude of talented riders we have on this team. We’ll be looking for stage wins and ways to animate the race. I’m proud of the ride our team did today. Despite injury and conditions, they pushed through, and all nine finished the race.”

“We’ve lost Christian, and we’re all sad about that. He’s had a tough season and has preserved and pushed himself like few other athletes could.”

“I crashed once right before the Stockeu,” said Vande Velde. “Riders crashed in front of me and I wasn’t able to avoid them, so I went down.”

“We all knew it was important to be at the front over the climb and at that point, I felt ok and got back on and made it back to the front to get up Stockeu. Then another rider lost control in front of me and again, I couldn’t avoid it. I crashed and landed in a ditch. I’m not sure what I hit; I think it might have been a pole. At that point my eye was bleeding pretty badly and the pain in my side and my back was excruciating. I got back on the bike though, and was coming back with Andy Schleck. I tried to stay with that group, but the pain was too much and I couldn’t get out of the saddle to make it back on.”

“No one wants to leave the Tour de France. I worked really hard to get myself ready to be here again and I was just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m indescribably disappointed to not be starting tomorrow. I wish everyone luck – my team and all the other riders at this Tour de France. I don’t ever want to have to see another day like today, whether I’m in the race or not.”

The team’s sprinter Tyler Farrar had a second day of misfortune, crashing multiple times.

“One minute I was riding down the descent and the next minute I was sliding,” said Farrar. “That was the first crash. I got back up and started descending again and I have no idea what happened; all of the sudden my front wheel was gone and I was on the ground again. That’s the one where I knew something was very wrong.”

“I rode the last 30k with one hand. I laid my left hand on the handlebars but that’s all I could do. I have a fracture in my wrist and banged up my elbow pretty badly. No one wants to quit the Tour de France, so you’ll push yourself a lot more through the pain than you will in any other bike race in the world. I’m determined to start tomorrow and as of this moment, that’s the plan.”

“Tomorrow is going to be painful for Tyler,” said Vaughters. “He’s got significant injuries, so starting alone is a huge step, and from there we’ll have to see how he goes. But regardless, a good, strong team remains at this Tour and we’ll be a part of the action throughout.”

More photos from the Tour de France:
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