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Dramatic Crash Injures Riders in Tour de France - 2003-07-06

The first full stage of the Tour de France was marred by a dramatic crash near the finish line that saw four-time defending champion Lance Armstrong thrown from his bike, and several riders were taken to the hospital with more serious injuries.

Italian rider Alessandro Petacchi of Italy won Sunday's 168-kilometer stage to Meaux in 3 hours, 44 minutes and 33 seconds He was just ahead of the pack of some 35 riders involved in the crash around 400 meters from the finish line. Petacchi beat out Robbie McEwen of Australia in the dash for the finish, while German Erik Zabel rider was third.

Armstrong's bike was disabled in the crash, so he completed the stage on the bike of his U.S. Postal Service teammate, Jose Luis Rubiera. Armstrong suffered a thigh bruise and some scratches, but his former teammate and fellow American Tyler Hamilton fractured his collarbone, ending the race for him. Armstrong is eighth in the overall standings, with 19 days of racing left to go.

Australian Bradley McGee, who won Saturday's opening time trial, retained the yellow jersey awarded to the overall leader.