WebPosted Thu, 14 Jul 2005 10:50:07 EDT
Belgian sprinter Tom Boonen withdrew from the Tour de France on Thursday due to a knee injury.
The 24-year-old Boonen, who won two stages of this year's Tour, hurt his right knee in a crash during Wednesday's 11th stage. It was his third crash of the Tour.
Boonen said a broken blood vessel under the kneecap caused the joint to swell.
"Doctors took out 80cc of blood this morning ... and it's full again," Boonen said. "I tried to ride the bike this morning but I couldn't stand up. I hope it's not lasting damage."
Boonen pulled out of the race prior to the start of Thursday's 187-kilometre stage from Briancon to Digne les Bains.
His departure means he relinquishes the green jersey as leader of the sprint competition to Norway's Thor Hushovd.
How devastating! Poor, poor sprint-savvy, beautiful Tom. The TdF is a heartless bitch mistress.