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Tough Tour day in the office for Garmin-Sharp

Canada's Ryder Hesjedal gestures at the start of the men's cycling road race at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 28, 2012. REUTERS/Phil No
Canada's Ryder Hesjedal gestures at the start of the men's cycling road race at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 28, 2012. REUTERS/Phil No

MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - Tour de France team Garmin-Sharp had a tough day in the office on Wednesday when two of their top riders crashed in the fifth stage.

Canada's Ryder Hesjedal, the 2012 Giro d'Italia champion, hit the tarmac on the final climb some 15 kilometers from the finish.

Race doctors said in their daily report that Hesjedal was treated for a rib fracture but team manager Jonathan Vaughters explained that the injury was four days old.

"To clarify, Ryder has a very small fracture in one rib from the first day's crash. He's fine. Just got it X-rayed today to help optimize taping," he wrote on Twitter.

American Christian Vande Velde was involved in a huge pile-up near the end of the 228.5-km ride from Cagnes-sur-Mer and race doctors said he suffered "a cervical contusion", adding that a "screw from previous surgery" had been knocked loose. They did not elaborate.

Both riders have general classification ambitions. Vaughters said before the race that the team had an open strategy, identifying the duo, as well as Irishman Dan Martin and American Andrew Talansky and Tom Danielson, as potential top contenders.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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