Van Garderen abandons Tour de France with broken hand

American Tejay van Garderen has left the Tour de France.

Van Garderen (EF Education First) withdrew from the race Friday evening after breaking his left hand in a crash on stage 7, according to a team release.

Van Garderen was caught in a pileup that occurred just a few kilometers into the 230 kilometer stage from Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saône. Van Garderen reportedly hit a traffic island, which caused him to fall heavily on his hand and face. The crash also took down Mike Teunissen of Jumbo-Visma.

The crash was caused by “personal error,” van Garderen said in a release.

“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,” Van Garderen said. “I have no one to blame but myself, and I really hope that no one else got hurt because of me.”

Images of van Garderen after the crash showed abrasions to his face and arms. According to the team, Van Garderen underwent a medical inspection just after the crash, and remounted his bicycle after he was deemed to be OK to continue. He completed the remainder of the stage, but lost contact with the front group in the final five kilometers

After the stage van Garderen was treated by team doctors and underwent X-rays. The imagery confirmed that the American had broken a bone in his hand.

In the team release, longtime team doctor Kevin Sprouse said van Garderen had suffered a ‘nondisplaced fracture’ at the base of his thumb.

“After today’s stage, Tejay had his wounds cleaned and bandaged,” Sprouse said. “We then went for an X-ray. In addition to multiple abrasions, it was determined that he has a nondisplaced fracture at the base of his first metacarpal on the left hand. He has been placed in a splint and will not start stage eight.”

The loss removes one of EF Education First’s valuable lieutenants for the high mountains. Van Garderen was riding in support of the team’s two climbers, Mike Woods and Rigoberto Uran. Prior to the race van Garderen had enjoyed a fruitful spring, finishing second place at France’s Critérium du Dauphiné.

“All I’m thinking about now is the disappointment, less for myself and more for the team,” van Garderen said. “Rigo and Woods, they both have a big chance to podium, to win stages, even to win the whole damn Tour. I would have loved to have been a part of that, to contribute to that, but unfortunately, as all cyclists have become accustomed to saying, these things happen.”

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