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Tour de France News Flash for July 7, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Hamilton, Leipheimer and Lotz out of Tour

Tyler Hamilton's, Levi Leipheimer's and Marc Lotz's dreams of riding a good Tour de France came to a bitter end in stage 1 after they were involved in the massive pileup with less than 500m to go. The crash was precipitated by Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Kelme), who lost control after being pushed by a Cofidis rider as the peloton wound up for a bunch sprint.

Tyler Hamilton was one of many who came down, falling heavily on his shoulder. He was immediately taken to hospital for examination, where it was confirmed that he had broken his right collarbone. It was an early exit for the CSC rider, who was tipped as a podium chance, and finished sixth in the prologue.

Rabobank's Levi Leipheimer also came down hard in the crash, and after being taken to hospital for X-rays, it was confirmed that he had broken a hip bone in his left buttock. That means he will be out of the Tour, while sitting in 13th overall. Rabobank also lost Marc Lotz to facial injuries, and that will make life tough for Theo De Rooij's squad in the upcoming team time trial, and of course for the rest of the Tour.

Other riders to come down included race leader Brad McGee and Lance Armstrong, who were relatively unhurt, and Jimmy Casper and Richard Virenque, who were more seriously injured, but will start stage 2.

Alessandro Petacchi won the stage from Robbie McEwen and Erik Zabel, while Brad McGee kept the yellow jersey.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)

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