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Tejay van Garderen is out of the 2019 Tour de France after fracturing his hand in a crash.
The 30-year-old American hit the deck in the early goings of Friday’s stage. Seven kilometers into the day, van Garderen hit a traffic island and went down along with Jumbo-Visma’s Mike Teunissen.
“The crash was a result of a personal error,” van Garderen said in EF’s statement. “I was looking down at my bike because I saw something caught up in it, like a piece of paper, so I was looking down and I hit a median. I have no one to blame but myself, and I really hope that no one else got hurt because of me.”
Following an initial medical assessment, van Garderen remounted – albeit sporting some bumps and bruises and a torn up jersey – and finished the lengthy stage to Chalon-sur-Saône.
After riding 223 kilometers, van Garderen received further medical attention after the race, including X-ray that race ultimately showed a fracture at “the base of his first metacarpal on the left hand,” according to EF. Due to the injury, van Garderen will not start Saturday’s stage 8.
“We will miss having him in the team,” said team CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “He has showed great form coming into the race.”
Van Garderen, the most recent American to finish in the top five overall at the Tour de France, has had an up-and-down first season with the EF squad after transferring from BMC over the offseason. He took the race lead at the Amgen Tour of California into the Mount Baldy stage only to drop down to ninth overall, but he soared to second on the final GC standings at the Critérium du Dauphiné last month.
His past two days in France have been tough, however. He lost several minutes on Thursday’s challenging stage 6 to La Planche des Belles Filles, and now he is out of the Tour de France entirely, difficult news for any rider that has spent the year preparing for the race, and particularly for a rider who has already seen more than one Tour de France campaign derailed by crashes or illness.
This year will mark the second time van Garderen has abandoned a Tour de France; he registered a DNF at the 2015 Tour after falling ill while sitting third overall in the final week. His absence at this year’s Tour will leave EF’s GC leader Rigoberto Urán with one fewer supporter as the race hits the higher mountains in the coming days.