The Barloworld team is down to four remaining riders in this year's Tour de France after Australian Baden Cooke became the fifth rider to pull out of the race Thursday. Cooke got off his bike after just 25km of the race's 12th stage, according to official race radio. He had crashed earlier in the stage but initially continued riding.
The British-registered outfit lost Colombian Felix Cardenas and Italian Paolo Longo on Wednesday's 11th stage, both victims of crashes. Longo sustained a fractured collarbone in a crash which left him in a ditch at the side of the road near the 50km mark. Cardenas is a former Tour stage winner and has also claimed a stage victory in the Tour of Spain.
Colombian climber Mauricio Soler, the team's designated leader and king of the mountains in the 2007 edition, was the first victim after suffering a fractured wrist in the first week.
On Wednesday, Spaniard Moises Duenas was kicked off the Tour by his team following a positive test for the banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin).
Dumoulin Enjoys Active Tour
Stage 3 winner Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) is enjoying an active Tour de France, out on the attack again in Stage 12 Thursday. Enjoying great form, Dumoulin has plenty of praise for his teammates and the aggressive riding they've displayed over the Tour's first half.
"We get along really well in our team," Dumoulin told French television after his latest breakaway effort. "We're a great group of friends and every day we're eager to see who will end up in the break."
Dumoulin's effort didn't pan out Thursday. His escape with Arnaud Gerard of Francaise des Jeux and late joiner Juan Jose Oroz of the Basque Euskaltel Euskadi outfit were reeled in with 9km to go. He enjoyed the ride, but Dumoulin had a sense this wouldn't be his day.
"With the wind there were a lot of instructions in the radio for riders to be vigilant and watch the gaps," he explained. "That made the peloton nervous and basically doomed our escape. I never really believed we'd make it all the way."
"It's the Tour de France, so nobody likes to give up," he admitted. "We tried to enjoy ourselves."
|Dumoulin hopes to add to his Stage 3 success |