Two more pro-cyclists have dropped out of the Tour de France today before Stage 17 Saint-Gaudens > Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet (124,5 km) got underway.
Can’t say I blame them – whilst this stage is the shortest at 124.5 km, its one of the toughest – with absolutely brutal climbs.
168 men are left in the race for this stage today.
Orica-GreenEdge’s sprinter Simon Gerrans suffered injuries in the stage one crash that with Mark Cavendish and has struggled with them ever since.
“With the injuries I have from stage one I think the best decision is actually to stop now and completely recover,” he said. “I know I haven’t been 100% right since my crash but I was hoping to improve throughout the race. That hasn’t really been the case.”
IAM’s Reto Hollenstein – The Guardians News feed meanwhile has alerted me to another story of the sheer stubborn intensity that pro cyclists need for their sport.
At the start of yesterday’s stage Iam Cycling’s Reto Hollenstein crashed and punctured a lung.
The medical car was a distance away up the road monitoring the leaders, so the young Swiss rider got back on his bike and finished the stage.
With a punctured lung.
Unsurprisingly he has not made the start today.
Even as I’m typing this update, the Tour de France official news feed has highlighted that at least one other rider has been forced to quit mid stage.
Simon Spilak was forced to quit the Tour because of a stomach bug while Zak Dempster (NetApp) called for medical assistance after being bitten by a wasp.
It is unclear yet if Zak Dempster has had to quit because of the sting…….
Its been an attritional race this year – but probably no more so than normal……
The Tour de France……. genuinely one of the toughest sporting events of all time.