SAINT-JEAN-DE-MAURIENNE, France, July 13, 2010 (AFP) – Russia’s Vladimir Karpets has pulled out of the Tour de France after being told the hand injury he has been riding with for a week is actually a fracture.
Karpets was one of the race’s many crash victims on stage two to Spa in the Belgian Ardennes, but it was not until he went for scans during Monday’s rest day that the big Katusha team rider was told the true extent of his injury.
Doctors told the Russian he had fractured a bone in his palm, forcing his team to pull him out prior to the start of the ninth stage.
“I was struggling to keep a grip on the handlebars and it was virtually impossible to continue,” said Karpets, who will now focus on the Tour of Spain in September.
“The doctor told me I need 30 days rest. After that I’ll start training for the Tour of Spain.”
Karpets, 29, won the white jersey for the race’s best placed rider aged 25 or under in the 2004 edition but has since failed to live up to that promise.
Before leaving the race he was in 57th overall, more than 26 minutes behind race leader Cadel Evans of Australia.