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Page last updated at 17:47 GMT, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 18:47 UK

Injured Frank Schleck pulls out of Tour de France

Frank Schleck receives medical assistance from Tour de France doctor Gerard Porte following his crash
Frank Schleck receives assistance from Tour de France doctor Gerard Porte

Luxembourg's Frank Schleck has become the latest big name to withdraw from an accident-strewn 2010 Tour de France.

The Saxo Bank rider, who finished fifth last year, suffered a broken collarbone after falling in a cobbled section of the 213km third stage on Tuesday.

Team Garmin leader Christian Vande Velde pulled out before the stage after breaking two ribs and lacerating an eyelid in a nasty crash on Monday.

All three stages of the Tour so far have been marred by multiple crashes.

The first stage on Sunday, from Rotterdam to Brussels, was disrupted by a number of incidents, including a huge pile-up 500m from home, which created mass confusion.

After having congratulated his team-mates tonight after a job well done on the cobblestones, he [Schleck] is undergoing immediate surgery and will be out of competition for a longer period of time

Team Saxo Bank statement

The rain-soaked second stage also involved numerous crashes, with seven-time winner Lance Armstrong, defending champion Alberto Contador, Frank's younger brother Andy and British hope Bradley Wiggins all falling before rejoining the pack.

American Vande Velde was one of five Team Garmin riders to be hurt on Monday - including Britain's David Millar, who suffered a potential broken rib and described the day as "in my top five worst days on a bike, ever".

And now on Tuesday, the Tour lost Schleck, who is to undergo immediate shoulder surgery, Team Saxo Bank announced on Tuesday.

"After the horrible crash earlier today, Team Saxo Bank's Frank Schleck was examined at a local hospital where X-rays revealed three fractures of his left collarbone which obviously stopped the national champion of Luxembourg of continuing today's stage," said the statement.

"After having congratulated his team-mates tonight after a job well done on the cobblestones, he is undergoing immediate surgery and will be out of competition for a longer period of time."

Armstrong predicted on his Twitter feed that Tuesday's ride from Wanze, Belgium, to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut in France was "Going.To.Be.Carnage".

So it proved as the cobblestones proved problematic for riders, most significantly Schleck, who crashed 28km from the finish.

606: DEBATE
corzellian

Armstrong himself suffered a puncture, which limited his progress and resulted in him finishing 32nd and dropping to 18th overall from fifth.

Schleck's brother Andy, who was Tour runner-up in 2009, secured an impressive fifth, but his happiness was tempered by the loss of his brother from the event.

"It was a good day for me, but the Tour is finished for him [Frank]," said Schleck.

"But it's not the most important thing. I'm happy it's just his collarbone that has been broken."

The stage was ultimately won by Cervelo's Thor Hushovd, who outsprinted Team Sky's Geraint Thomas.

Thomas is now second in the overall standings, 23 seconds behind Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara, who has a time of 14 hours 54 minutes.



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see also
Hushovd beats Thomas to stage win
06 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Stage three as it happened
06 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Tour de France stage three photos
06 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Chavanel wins dramatic Tour stage
05 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Petacchi wins crash-strewn stage
04 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Millar & Thomas shine in prologue
03 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Tour de France day by day
04 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Tour de France 2010 guide
02 Jul 10 |  Cycling



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