Tour de France
Mass pile-up mars TDF stage
Metz - A total of six riders including Spanish veteran Oscar Freire quit the Tour de France on Friday after suffering injury in the crash-marred sixth stage over 205km from Epernay to Metz on Friday.
Freire, world road race champion in 1999, 2001, 2004 and taking part in his last Tour, was forced to retire after fracturing his shoulderblade requiring three days recovery in hospital, his Katusha team reported late on Friday.
Another rider forced out prematurely was Dutchman Wouter Poels of Vacansoleil, one of several riders left sitting on the road in pain after a mass pile-up 26km from the finish.
American Tom Danielson, who had suffered a shoulder injury earlier this week, also pulled out after crashing at the same spot, where many of his Garmin teammates also came down.
Also caught in the crash were Italian Davide Vigano of Lampre and Spaniard Mikel Astarloza, who rides for Euskaltel. Both riders pulled out of the race.
Rabobank announced that Belgian Maarten Wynants, who finished among a 41-strong group that finished the stage over 13 minutes down, had also quit after being diagnosed with two broken ribs and a perforated lung.
"Unfortunately, he's out of the Tour," Rabobank announced in a posting on Twitter.
It brings the number of retirements on the race to 10 from the 198-strong peloton.
Dutchman Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank), Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) and Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Team Sky) had all quit prior to Friday's stage because of injuries suffered in crashes.
Germany Marcel Kittel of Argos-Shimano withdrew after 40km of racing on Thursday having suffered from a stomach virus since Monday.