The Tour de France casualty list hit its highest figures since 1998, after seven stages, Saturday when Anthony Delaplace became the 17th rider to quit the race early. A day after a mass pile-up led to 12 abandons and many riders nursing injury and severe road rash, a reduced peloton of 182 riders from 198 starters began the seventh stage from Tomblaine to the race's first hilltop finish. But the pain of a fractured wrist suffered in the crash forced Frenchman Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun) out after just 44 km of the 199 km stage to the Planche des Belles Filles ski station. The last time so many riders had abandoned after seven stages of the race was at the scandal-tained 1998 edition which became notorious for the Festina doping scandal.
On Friday American Tom Danielson (Garmin), Davide Vigano (Lampre) and Spaniard Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) quit prior to the stage finish in Metz where Slovakian Peter Sagan took his third win of the race. Spaniard Oscar Freire (Katusha), Belgian Maarten Wynants (Rabobank) and Dutchman Wouter Poels of Vacansoleil were confirmed as having quit the race after the stage.
On Saturday morning more casualties were added to the list with Spaniards Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel), Imanol Erviti and Jose Ivan Gutierrez (both Movistar), Canada's Ryder Hesjedal and South African Robert Hunter (both Garmin) and Frenchman Hubert Dupont (AG2R-La Mondiale) all pulling out. It brings the number of retirements from the race to 17 since the start in Liege a week ago.
Dutchman Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank), Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) and Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Team Sky) had all quit prior to Friday's stage because of injuries suffered in crashes. Germany Marcel Kittel of Argos-Shimano withdrew after 40km of racing Thursday having suffered from a stomach virus since Monday.