The double crashes on a fast descent in the Ardennes at the Tour de France on stage 3 left many of the riders battered, scraped and bruised on the worst possible day - right before they hit the cobbles of Northern France. So numerous were the injured that race organizers were forced to halt the stage to let the medics do their jobs.
There were actually two crashes, one at kilometre 105 that took down maillot jaune Fabian Cancellara (Trek). He finished the stage, but was later diagnosed with fractured vertebrae and will not continue.
Two kilometres later, Dmitrii Kozonchuk (Katusha) was in a crash with Johan Vansummeren (AG2R La Mondiale). Kozonchuk fractured his scapula in addition to his collarbone. In all, six riders abandoned the race due to injuries sustained in the two wrecks.
In addition to Cancellara and Kozonchuk, Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) finished the stage but was confirmed to have broken his collarbone. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) broke his shoulder and Simon Gerrans his wrist. The worst off in the crash, however, was William Bonnet (FDJ), the first rider to fall after touching wheels.
Bonnet was thought to have simply had a concussion in addition to all-over road rash, but after careful examination he was also found to have a multi-fragmented fracture of his second cervical vertebrae - the so-called 'hangman's fracture'. The break will require surgery but is not life-threatening.
Brave soldier award goes to Ten Dam