Sunday 11 September 2011

Jens Voigt abandons Tour of Britain

German rider Jens Voigt, one of the most popular characters on the professional cycling circuit, has abandoned the Tour of Britain during a rain-soaked and wind-swept first stage.

The 39-year-old LeopardTrek rider had become caught up in a crash involving several riders and his decision to quit was announced by organisers at 13:15. The team announced at 15:32 that he was waiting to have a suspected broken finger X-rayed in hospital, then in a website update later in the afternoon confirmed that the finger is broken and that Voigt will require an operation to repair it.

Voigt's move leaves the Luxembourg-based team without a leader; as one of their strongest riders, this may prove disastrous and is the latest in a series of unfortunate recent events including Andy Schleck's forced departure from the Grand Prix Cyclistes of Québec and Montréal with chronic tooth ache and a disappointing Vuelta a Espana.

"He was our guy for the general classification here,” said directeur sportif Torsten Schmidt on the team's website. “He had a good chance for a strong showing because the time trial in this race can be so decisive."

Meanwhile, Sky's Steve Cummings - who was also in the crash - continued to race after receiving attention by race medics.

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