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MONTPELLIER, France (VN) — Janez Brajkovic, Astana’s slender Slovenian who rode to ninth in last year’s Tour de France, has been ordered out of the race by three doctors after crashing hard on his left knee in Thursday’s sixth stage.
Brajkovic crashed on a traffic circle with about 10 kilometers to go as the pack barreled into Montpellier for the final sprint. He managed to finish the race, crossing the line 10:48 back, but three doctors later decided he would risk permanent damage to his knee if he continued in the Tour.
He suffered a deep cut to his left knee, requiring several stitches to close the wound.
An Astana team source confirmed that two doctors from the Tour de France mobile medical unit as well as the Astana team doctor agreed that Brajkovic should not risk racing tomorrow.
“The doctors determined it is not possible for him to start tomorrow,” the source said. “The wound is too complicated. The doctors said it would cause serious and perhaps permanent damage to his knee if he were to race. All three doctors were unanimous in their decision.”
The news is a blow to Brajkovic, who came into this year’s Tour as a discreet second GC option behind teammate Jakob Fuglsang.
Astana is also now down to six riders. Andrey Kashechkin abandoned before leaving Corsica with stomach problems and Fredrik Kessiakoff, the big Swedish sprinter who crashed Wednesday, abandoned at the feed zone.