Tour de France 2015: Fabian Cancellara forced to withdraw after cycling 50km to finish line with a broken back following horror crash

Cancellara had held the race leader's yellow jersey when he was involved in a horrifying 40-rider crash on Stage Three

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The Independent Online

The Tour de France yellow jersey makes people do some incredibly brave things, like riding around 2,200 miles across France and, in this year’s case, part of the Netherlands and Belgium.

Fabian Cancellara may be one of many though who wishes Le Tour did not start in Utrecht this year, after he was involved in the 40-rider pile-up that caused stage three of the iconic race to be postponed for nearly 25 minutes while the injured were treated.

Wearing the leader’s yellow jersey, Cancellara can be clearly seen to plough into the unavoidable mess in front of him and be forced onto the grass bank next to the main road, flipping forward over his handlebars as he hit a hedge and breaking his back in two places.

Watch the video of the crash below...


He’d be forgiven instantly for pulling out of the race, but the man aptly nicknamed “Spartacus” got back on his bike following treatment and cycled the painstakingly long 50km to the finish line, despite having two fractured vertebrae in his spine.


Having seen Chris Froome challenge eventual winner Joaquim Rodriguez duel up a gruesome final climb on the Mur de Huy in Belgium, fans looked on as just 12 minutes later, Cancellara and the rest of his injured colleagues were helped up the 128m hill to reach the finish line.


Cancellara was taken to hospital immediately afterwards, where the Swiss was informed that he had fractured the L3 and L4 vertebrae in his spine, forcing him to withdraw from the rest of the Tour de France and end his short spell at the front of the pack.


“Just left the hospital with a huge disappointment #TDF2015 is over broke some bones on my back again as in spring. #L3/L4right side,” Cancellara said on Twitter.

“On the way home with lot's of pain all over my body.doesn't feel nice crash with 75km/h.this morning it felt horrible to stand out from bed.

“One day you win one day you lose but i will not give up on what happen #spartacus @TrekFactory thanks for all your messages and coments [sic[].”


The remaining contenders will finally reach France in today’s Stage Four which begins in Seraing, Belgium, and runs along a difficult cobblestone route before finishing in Cambrai, south-west of the town of Valenciennes.