Chris Horner’s unlucky season continued yesterday, as he abandoned the Vuelta a Espana on yesterday’s fourth stage to Liège, coming off worst in a big pile-up on the approach to the finish.
Horner suffered a suspected fractured hand, a haematoma on his hip and several cuts and bruises.
The Astana rider also departed this year’s Giro d’Italia in a similar fashion, breaking his leg on stage ten.
It was an unfortunate conclusion to the race’s succesful spell in the Low Countries. On wet roads on the run-in to the finish, a crash at the head of the peloton saw forty riders going down, blocking the way for the rest of the bunch.
Only six riders made it through the chaos, virtually making the sprint a formality for stage winner André Greipel.
Fuji-Servetto rider Robert Kiserlovski is also expected to withdraw from the race after sustaining a broken collarbone.
Alexandre Vinokourov, Tyler Farrar, David Millar and Roger Hammond were among those to also hit the deck. There are a lot of riders nursing injuries, thankful for the race’s first rest day.
Hammond, who finished third on the opening road stage, commented: “I was in good position for the sprint, but a rider was going dangerously fast into the roundabout and caused the crash.”
He continued: “When everyone is going the same speed through a corner like, it takes a real idiot to think you can go 10kph faster. My leg is hurting pretty bad. I should be OK to keep going, but it hurts now.”
Ezequiel Mosquera, who finished fifth overall in the 2008 Vuelta, was nursed across the line by two of his Xacobeo Galicia team-mates. The 33-year-old’s ankle is badly swollen – nevertheless a better prognosis than the initially-feared fracture.