Hesjedal needed to go home and recover: Garmin team doctor

Disastrous first week on Tour de France for Ryder Hesjedal and team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda

Ryder Hesjedal finished Stage 6 of the Tour de France on Friday but subsequently pulled out due to injury.

He’s the reigning Giro d’Italia winner and is London-bound this month for his third Olympic Games. But even the chance to gorge – guilt free – on all the French cuisine he can this weekend will do little to lift the spirits of Ryder Hesjedal.

The wiry Victoria cyclist withdrew from the Tour de France before Saturday’s Stage 7 after a major crash set him, and some of his Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda teammates, 13 minutes back of the leaders during Stage 6 on Friday.

Hesjedal finished the stage, but subsequently pulled out.

“It’s a huge disappointment,” Hesjedal said.

“I was in good form and feeling comfortable, just really settling in to the first week with an eye on the mountains.”

Hesjedal said he’s now focused on the Olympics, and has resigned himself to rooting for his Garmin teammates still on the Tour.

At the moment of the crash Hesjedal was one of the top contenders in the hunt for the yellow jersey as the overall winner of the Tour. Dozens of riders piled-up in front of him and he sustained a hematoma to his left leg and hip.

The team released a statement about the injury, saying it prevented a normal pedal stroke.

“The injury would only be worsened if he tried to ride (Saturday),” team doctor Prentice Steffen said. “He needs to go home, keep working with the medical staff, and recover.”

“(Garmin) still has a strong group of riders here and they will still do great things,” Hesjedal said.

For the first time in its five year existence, Garmin has no one in contention for the yellow jersey, as Dan Martin leads the team in 69th, 27 minutes back of overall leader Bradley Wiggins.

Garmin’s Tom Danielson, who Hesjedal helped to ninth-overall in the 2011 Tour, was also part of the crash that led to Hesjedal’s demise, and was forced to abandon mid-race.

Hesjedal will represent Canada in the Olympic men’s road race on July 28 and time trial on Aug. 1.