Garmin team leader Ryder Hesjedal has pulled out of the Tour de France after suffering several injuries in the crash-marred sixth stage, team chief Jonathan Vaughters said Saturday.
"Ryder is not going to start. Sad but he will be back," Vaughters said on his Twitter account.
Canada's recent Giro d'Italia champion, considered a yellow jersey outsider, was one of several Garmin men to suffer in the 60 km/h pile-up 26 kilomets from the finish line of Friday's 205 km stage from Epernay to Metz. Hesjedal, who suffered a hematoma "right on his hip joint" according to Vaughters, was in a "sombre, quiet mood" Saturday as both he and teammate Tom Danielson prepared to travel to the airport in Paris.
"We figured his hematoma would go down overnight, but it didn't," Vaughters said prior to the seventh stage to the race's first hilltop finish at La Planche des Belles Filles in the Vosges. "The problem is to the degree that he can't actually bend his leg. He's in a pretty quiet sombre mood this morning, there wasn't a whole lot of debate (about his participation)."
Danielson was also forced out of the race, along with five riders from other teams, and on Saturday morning Garmin were among many teams counting their maimed and injured. Danielson suffered a reoccurrence of the separated shoulder he sustained in a crash on stage three as well as a sprained neck, chest contusion and multiple extensive deep abrasions, according to a Garmin team statement.
Belgian Johan Vansummeren arrived at the stage finish with barely a stitch of his cycling gear holding together and with patches of road rash on his back and buttocks. He was transported to a local hospital immediately where exams revealed a sprain to his right shoulder and upper back along with multiple abrasions, according to Garmin.
Vaughters, who as a rider suffered injury mishap on the Tour, said they would now be "in survival mode" until the first rest day on Tuesday before coming up with a new strategy.
"You have to come up with new objectives. You can't just ride along in the peloton," added the American, who revealed that Dan Martin is the only rider from the team who hasn't been part of any sort of crash "Once we get past the rest day and have been able to recover a little bit then we'll hope to start playing an open and aggressive game."