Cyclist suffers broken ribs, back injury

Updated: May 11, 2009, 5:08 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

VALDOBBIADENE, Italy -- American rider Christian Vande Velde has fallen during the third stage of the Giro d'Italia and withdrew from the race.

Vande Velde was taken to a hospital Monday, and his Garmin-Slipstream team said he suffered two broken ribs and a severe contusion and sprain to the middle of his back. His recovery period is not known, the team said in a statement.

Vande Velde and teammate David Zabriskie tumbled at the 87-mile mark. Zabriskie got back on his bike and rejoined the pack but Vande Velde stayed on the ground.

Italy's Alessandro Petacchi won the third stage to take the race lead. The LPR sprinter, who also won Sunday's second stage, crossed the line in 4 hours, 45 minutes and 27 seconds after the lead changed hands several times in the final minutes.

Lance Armstrong finished in the main pack Monday.

Vande Velde finished fifth in last year's Tour de France. At last year's Giro he wore the overall leader's pink jersey after Garmin won the opening team time trial.

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.

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