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Wednesday did not go well for Saunier Duval, who lost Constantino Zaballa because of a knee injury picked up in the team time trial and saw best young rider hopeful Jos Angel Gomez Marchante ride into a motorbike that was parked on the course. Zaballa quit after 36km of the Montargis stage, and in the process the race lost one of its most aggressive riders before he had been able to show the Tour what he is capable of.
Saunier put some of the blame for Zaballa's crash onto team-mate Nicolas Fritsch, who has provoked concern among his team's management for his apparent lack of bike-handling skills. This morning's El Diario Vasco describes riding behind the Frenchman in the peloton as "like shaving in the dark". The Basque paper says that Fritsch misjudged a corner on the TTT course and forced Zaballa towards the barriers, which made contact with the Spaniard's bars, which flew round into his knee.
"I think that he has got some problem with balance or to do with vertigo," Saunier directeur Joxean Fernandez Matxin told El Diario Vasco. "We're going to take him to a specialist. It's not normal. When he's in the peloton he's always got his head up, looking ahead, lacking in confidence."
Gomez Marchante, who is hoping to challenge for the white jersey of best young rider in his first Tour, is expected to start again today after he crashed into a motorbike on stage five. "I had stopped to take a piece of paper out of my wheel and was then accelerating to get back into the peloton when I crashed into a Tour-accredited motorbike that was parked on a bend, I went straight into its luggage box," said Gomez Marchante.
"A number of team-mates waited to help me, but I spent the rest of the stage at the back of the peloton because of the pain I was in. I hit my left side and knee, and I hope it's nothing but I admit that I'm worried," who said he was angry about the incident, feeling the bike should not have been parked where it was.
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