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Meersman Out of Paris-Nice with Broken Ribs

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AFP / Yuzuru Sunada [/quote}

Belgian Gianni Meersman broke four ribs in a crash during Monday’s Paris-Nice race, his team Omega-Pharma Quick Step said Tuesday. Meersman abandoned the ‘Race to the sun’ before the start of Tuesday’s third stage and returned to Belgium for X-rays, where he was found also to have injured his back.

“It’s probably the worst crash of my life at a bad time of the season,” said the 28-year-old, who has been told to rest for two weeks. “It’s a shame because I was in really good form.”

Meersman had finished third on the opening Paris-Nice stage Sunday and was heading for the leader’s jersey during the second stage after picking up bonus time in intermediate sprints, only to have his hopes dashed by his crash.