Alejandro Valverde crashes but continues

Worries for Spanish Tour hopeful in stage 5

Spain's Tour de France hopeful Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne) suffered a setback Wednesday when he fell during the 232km stage from Cholet to Chateauroux.

The former race leader and winner of the opening stage fell at the 90km mark, suffering knee, forearm and shoulder injuries after he rode over some debris in the middle of the road. The Spaniard got back on his bike to continue the race and finished the stage, won by Britain's Mark Cavendish in a sprint finish.

Valverde's team manager, Eusebio Unzue, ruled out taking Valverde to hospital for a scan but said he may do so as a precaution depending on a first diagnosis from the team doctor.

"Alejandro fell when he rode over an object on the road," explained Unzue. "His shoulder is hurting and he's got grazes on his forearm and his elbow, but for now we're not treating it as too serious. First he will see the team doctor and then, if needed, we will go to the hospital to check things out."

Valverde appears likely to begin Thursday's stage, the first in the medium mountains, although his rivals will have taken note of his setback.

The 28-year-old Spaniard, on his fourth Tour campaign, finished sixth last year after leaving the two previous editions because of injuries sustained from crashes.

© BikeRadar & AFP 2008 

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