Paris, (IANS) Samuel Sanchez, who won the gold medal in the men’s cycling road race in the Beijing Olympic Games four years ago, crashed midway through the eighth stage of the Tour de France and will now also miss the London Olympics.
Sanchez fell badly during the second mountain stage of the Tour and although the fall, which also involved Spaniard Alejandro Valderde, looked relatively innocuous, Sanchez remained on the ground, Xinhua reports.
He received attention from the doctor of his Euskaltel-Euskadi team, but was unable to continue in the race as a result of a broken collar bone. The injury means it will be almost impossible for him to defend his Olympic title.
The Olympic champion is the third rider of the Spanish Olympic team to suffer serious injury in this year’ s Tour: Juan Jose Rojas also broke his collar bone in a fall Tuesday, while Friday veteran sprinter Oscar Freire was also forced to return home after a fall in which he broke a rib and perforated a lung.
Rojas has already been replaced by Spanish champion, Fran Ventoso, although Spain captain Jose Luis de Santos has not yet named a replacement for Freire.
De Santos will be crossing his fingers that the five-man squad suffers no further problems, given that the other two members, Luis Leon Sanchez and Alejandro Valverde have also fallen several times each in the first week of the Tour, fortunately neither has suffered any serious problems.
Meanwhile Rojas reacted to Sanchez’ s injury by posting “we seem to be jinxed,” on his Twitter account.