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Luis Leon Sanchez ruled out of the Tour de France

PAU, FRANCE (AP) – Former Paris-Nice champion Luis Leon Sanchez has withdrawn from the Tour de France after a crash that left him with a broken left collarbone.

The Spanish rider was involved in one of the many crashes that marred the finale of Tuesday’s fourth stage of the race.

The Astana-Qazaqstan team said Sanchez was expected to travel home to undergo surgery.

“It all went so fast in that hectic finale, with so many turns in the end,” Sanchez said.

“I had no control any more over my bike on that tricky surface.”

Sanchez’s withdrawal is a blow to teammate Mark Cavendish’s hopes of adding another mass sprint to his tally and beat the all-time record of 34 stage wins he shares with Eddy Merckx.

“We really lose an important rider for all kinds of stages, including the stages where he was part of the lead-out for Mark Cavendish,” team manager Alexandre Vinokourov said.

Spain’s Luis Leon Sanchez receives assistance after crashing during the fourth stage of the Tour de France cycling race. PHOTO: AP