Jurgen Van den Broeck crashes out of Tour de France

The Flemish rider Jurgen Van den Broeck is out of the Tour de France. After a fall during a descent he ended up with a pneumothorax, a fractured shoulder blade and two broken ribs.

The fall happened during the second descent of the day on the Pas de Peyrol, some 100 km from the finishing line. A handful of riders including Aleksandr Vinokoerov, David Millar, David Zabriskie and Flemings Frederik Willems and Jurgen Van den Broeck slipped and fell on a wet road surface.

Van den Broeck attempted to continue the race, but was too badly injured and ended up sitting on the verge. A year of hard and intensive training had been in vain. Together with Willems the rider was taken to hospital where he will have to stay for 24 hours as a precaution. Later the team doctor explained that Van den Broeck would certainly have to remain in hospital for two or three days.

The news of Van den Broeck's accident and withdrawal from the race spread like wildfire among the members of the peloton. Philippe Gilbert and Fabian Cancellara immediately halted the race.

Next to Gilbert Van den Broeck was one of Belgium's two main Tour hopefuls this year. He survived the first week in tact. He had hoped to do better than last year when he secured a fifth place and was seen as one of the outsiders for a place among the final top 3.