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Rik Verbrugghe broke his collar bone
By Celine Tytgadt
Date: 7/11/2002
Rik Verbrugghe broke his collar bone
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Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto-Adecco) will not start in the sixth stage of the Tour de France.  Unlike the other two riders who abandonned today (Pinotti and Steels, see article link below), Rik Verbrugghe still managed to finish todays stage but with a broken collarbone.  The crash took place at 16 km from the finishline.  Rik crossed the line 13 minutes later than the winner Jaan Kirsipuu (AG2R).  Losing Rik Verbrugghe is a big hit for Lotto-Adecco as he was their leader.  Last year, he won the race to Lavaur.

Tom Steels, another Belgian who abandonned today is back in a hole after having some great weeks with the Tour of Catalunya and the Belgian Championships.  "I wish someone could give me an answer to what is wrong.  My legs just don't want to work.  My body is never tired and my mind is good, but I can't seem to get some power into tmy legs.  They feel week and there's never tension on it.  In the team time trial, I didn't manage to get above a pulse of 140.  Then something must be wrong.  But nobody who knows exactly what.  That's the most annoying part of the situation."

But even though he hasn't been able to perform how he would have like to in this Tour, he's still hoping for the World Championships in Zolder.  "I could have finished this stage today, but what's the point?  Then I still wouldn't have competed for the victory in the stage and then the Belgian press would have started looking for causes of my failure.  I have won enough stages in the Tour in my career (9 in total) and I think I deserve more respect and credit than this.  But nobody seems to understand that so I decided to abandon today to try and make the best out of the rest of the season.  With the legs I had in the Belgian championships (Tom was in a break all day long and still managed to finish it off in a peloton sprint) I could have shown something in this Tour. I am sure that I can get those back and I still believe I can be one of the favorites in the World Championships in Zolder this year."

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