Fabian Cancellara quit the Tour de France on Monday night after X-rays revealed he’d broken two vertebrae in his back.
It was the same injury that ruined his Spring Classics season earlier in the year and took the total number of abandonments from the crash-marred third stage of the Tour to six.
Cancellara started the day in the race leader’s yellow jersey but was part of a pile-up 100km into the 159.5km stage in Belgium from Antwerp to the Mur de Huy.
The Swiss finished the stage, although he was visibly hurt and lost almost 12 minutes by the end.
“Just left the hospital with a huge disappointment #TDF2015 is over broke some bones on my back again as in spring,” said Cancellara on his Twitter account, while his Trek team published a photo of his X-rays.
Australian Simon Gerrans, South Africa’s Daryl Impey, Frenchman William Bonnet, Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands and Russian Dmitry Kozontchuk were also forced out of the race from the injuries they suffered in the same crash.
Several other riders soldiered on, such as Australia’s Michael Matthews, who finished the stage 21 minutes behind the winner Joaquim Rodriguez. – Agence France-Presse