The fall: Mark Cavendish brings down Simon Gerrans. Photo: AFP
BAGNERES-DE-LUCHON: Australian road champion Simon Gerrans has quit the Tour de France after more than two weeks due to lingering injuries sustained in his crash in stage one in Leeds.
Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE), who crashed with British sprint star Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) in the finale of the Tour opener, has opted to leave the Tour that finishes on Sunday to recover fully from his injuries.
“Obviously it’s disappointing not to complete the Tour de France and make it to Paris,” Gerrans, 34, said in a team statement after Tuesday's 16th stage was won by Australian Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo).
Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) still leads the Tour overall after 16 stages by 4m 37s on Spain's second-placed Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and 5m 06s over Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) who is now in third place.
In Tuesday's stage, Gerrans finished 117th at 26m 47s to the stage winner Rogers.
Gerrans said: “With the injuries I have from stage one I think the best decision is actually to stop now and completely recover.
“I know I haven’t been 100 per cent right since my crash, but I was hoping to improve throughout the race.
"That hasn’t really been the case so I have been putting on a brave face and doing what I can each day.
“I have some big goals in the second half of the season and if I am going to perform to meet these objectives I really need to make sure my health is 100 per cent right.”
Orica-GreenEDGE head sports director Matt White said he admired Gerrans' efforts to try and win a stage despite his injuries. But he agreed that Gerrans should return to his base in Monaco to recover.
“Obviously everyone is aware that Simon injured himself quite badly on stage one,” White said.
“He has done very well to get this far in the Tour and give it his all on numerous days for the team to try and get some results, but he is clearly not at 100 per cent.
“The only way he is going to regain his full fitness, his full health, is to go home and have a rest.
"He is not going to recover finishing off these last few days."