Erick Zabel won the third stage of the Tour de France, and Tony Rominger is through racing in cycling’s showcase event.
Rominger, the Swiss veteran competing in his last Tour de France, broke his collarbone and severely cut his right leg Tuesday when a group of riders fell. He will miss the rest of the three-week race.
Zabel of Germany won the stage and Mario Cipollini of Italy held the lead and the yellow jersey by finishing 25th for the day.
The spill came with almost six miles left in the 139-mile run from Vire to Plumelec.
“The road sometimes was too narrow,” Cipollini said. “It’s difficult not to fall.”
Rominger, looking stunned, sat on the ground for minutes getting medical treatment before being put on a stretcher and taken to a hospital in Vannes.
The 36-year-old cyclist was one of the top riders in the early 1990s but faded the last two years. He was second in the 1993 Tour de France behind Miguel Indurain. He finished 10th in last year’s event.
Tuesday’s stage featured a long four-rider breakaway. France’s Francois Simon left the other three riders late in the stage, building a one-minute gap with 10.5 miles left. But he was caught with 3.2 miles to go.
On the final long straightaway, up a slight hill, Zabel pulled ahead of Franck Vandenbroucke of Belgium. In third place was last year’s champion, Bjarne Riis of Denmark.
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