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Voeckler misses Tour Down Under after crash

Team Europcar rider and best climber's polka dot jersey holder Thomas Voeckler of France cycles during the individual time trial of the 19th
Team Europcar rider and best climber's polka dot jersey holder Thomas Voeckler of France cycles during the individual time trial of the 19th

(Reuters) - French cyclist Thomas Voeckler is out of Tour Down Under after the Europcar rider broke a collar bone after crashing on a training ride near the Adelaide beach suburb of Glenelg, race organizers said on Wednesday.

One of the marquee names scheduled to compete in the January 19-26 race in and around Adelaide, Voeckler collided with a stationary car and X-rays revealed he had broken his right collar bone.

"During training this morning, a pedestrian crossed the road so a car braked very quickly and I didn't have time to stop and I bumped into the car," the 34-year-old Voeckler was quoted as saying in a statement released by race organizers.

"I immediately realized that my collar bone had been broken for a third time.

"Thanks to the organizers, we rushed to the hospital and X-rays showed it was broken so I have to go back to France, go to the hospital and see how long it will take before I can get back on the bike again."

The 2012 Tour de France King of the Mountains winner underwent a minor operation earlier this month to remove a metal plate that was inserted after he had fractured the collar bone a second time last April.

"It's been 12 days since the other plate was removed and it was okay but I must not crash on it," said the rider, who plans to fly out of Adelaide on Thursday.

Europcar manager Andy Flickinger said the team was not considering a replacement and would start the race with the remaining six riders - Yukiya Arashiro, Perrig Quemeneur, Bjorn Thurau, Kevin Reza, Jerome Cousin and Angelo Tulik.

"There were a lot of people looking forward to seeing Thomas in action as he has a strong fan base in Australia but our first concern is for his welfare and we wish him all the best for a speedy recovery," race director Mike Turtur said.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by John O'Brien)

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