(Reuters) - French cyclist Thomas Voeckler is out of Tour Down Under after the Europcar rider broke a collar bone after crashing on a training ride near the Adelaide beach suburb of Glenelg, race organizers said on Wednesday.
One of the marquee names scheduled to compete in the January 19-26 race in and around Adelaide, Voeckler collided with a stationary car and X-rays revealed he had broken his right collar bone.
“During training this morning, a pedestrian crossed the road so a car braked very quickly and I didn’t have time to stop and I bumped into the car,” the 34-year-old Voeckler was quoted as saying in a statement released by race organizers.
”I immediately realized that my collar bone had been broken for a third time.
“Thanks to the organizers, we rushed to the hospital and X-rays showed it was broken so I have to go back to France, go to the hospital and see how long it will take before I can get back on the bike again.”
The 2012 Tour de France King of the Mountains winner underwent a minor operation earlier this month to remove a metal plate that was inserted after he had fractured the collar bone a second time last April.
“It’s been 12 days since the other plate was removed and it was okay but I must not crash on it,” said the rider, who plans to fly out of Adelaide on Thursday.
Europcar manager Andy Flickinger said the team was not considering a replacement and would start the race with the remaining six riders - Yukiya Arashiro, Perrig Quemeneur, Bjorn Thurau, Kevin Reza, Jerome Cousin and Angelo Tulik.
“There were a lot of people looking forward to seeing Thomas in action as he has a strong fan base in Australia but our first concern is for his welfare and we wish him all the best for a speedy recovery,” race director Mike Turtur said.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by John O'Brien