TOUR DE FRANCE: Stage 7 disaster a setback for Hesjedal

Hesjedal drops to four minutes, 28 seconds back of lead

A crash with 30 kilometres remaining in stage 7 of the Tour de France held Victoria’s Ryder Hesjedal over three minutes back of the lead group.

Great Britain’s Mark Cavendish won the mostly-flat stage in the final sprint of the 218 kilometres from Le Mans to Châteauroux.

Hesjedal wasn’t the only pre-race favourite to lose three minutes Friday but the rest of his team, Garmin-Cervelo, not only stayed clear of danger, they managed to finish with four riders in the top 30.

Hesjedal drops to four minutes, 28 seconds back of lead, 48th overall.

Garmin-Cervelo’s Thor Hushovd retained the yellow jersey as the Tour’s overall leader for the sixth straight stage, just one second ahead of Cadel Evans.

Great Britain hopeful Bradley Wiggins had to leave the race today due to an arm or shoulder injury sustained in the same crash that held Hesjedal back.

A breakaway pack of four riders owned a massive lead but relenquished it in the final kilometres of the day.