The top American in the Tour de France, Tejay van Garderen, is out of the race after crashing hard on Friday. But he still rode over 125 miles with a broken thumb and bloody road rash to complete the longest stage.
CHALON-SUR- SAONE, France - Bike racing can be brutal and unforgiving. Tejay van Garderen, the top American rider in the Tour de France, got a bitter reminder of that Friday: He is now out of the world's greatest race after crashing hard early on stage seven and breaking his left thumb and suffering multiple abrasions to his face and body.
He crashed not long after the start Friday and still managed to complete the longest stage of the Tour, 230 kilometers, or 142.9 miles, broken and bloodied but fighting.EF team manager and CEO Jonathan Vaughters confirmed to Business Insider that Van Garderen would not start stage eight Saturday. Van Garderen later also said he was not going to continue.
Early on Friday's stage, which was supposed to be a relatively relaxing but long day for most of the riders, Van Garderen hit a traffic island and crashed heavily. Van Garderen was checked by team management and the official Tour race doctor after crashing and was eventually allowed to continue racing.
He finished the stage, the longest of this year's Tour at 230 kilometers, or 142.9 miles. After, he went for x-rays, which showed a fracture in his left thumb.
Van Garderen told Business Insider how the crash happened: "It was a really stupid crash," he said. "I think a piece of paper or something got stuck in my bike somewhere, and I was just looking down trying to see what it was and get it out. And as I was looking down I ran into a median. It was really a benign moment of the race, and it was just one of those things. I can't blame anyone but myself."
"There's a fracture in my medial carpal, and right now it's not displaced, but doctors advise I keep it in a splint and keep it immobile," Van Garderen said. "If I'm riding on it and going over bumps, it's directly impacting the area of the fracture, and it could easily become displaced and become a more serious problem."
"We never want to see a rider leave the Tour like this," Vaughters said in a team statement late Friday. "There is a huge amount of work that goes into the preparation for this race, no one wants to be there more than these riders do. After talking with Tejay, our doctor, and race directors this evening, we're not only concerned about Tejay doing lasting damage to the fractured bone if he were to continue riding, but we are also concerned for the safety of others, too. Full use of your hand is important when racing alongside 180 riders."
"We will miss having him in the team," Vaughters added. "He has showed great form coming into the race. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope that he'll be back racing again soon."
This story is developing.
Tejay van Garderen will not start stage 8 of the Tour de France after crashing and breaking his left thumb Friday. He just told me his biggest regret is not being able to help his @EFprocycling team in the race. Which is pure class. #TDF2019 pic.twitter.com/y6rkarMQyV- DANIEL McMAHON (@cyclingreporter) July 12, 2019