AUBENAS, France : A cloud hung over the third stage of the Dauphine Libere race, a warm-up for next month's Tour de France, when La Boulangere
rider Mickael Pichon plunged down a ravine and suffered serious head and face injuries.
Pichon, who was wearing a helmet, is believed to have plunged 15 metres into the ravine near the end of the stage, held over 180 km from St Etienne to
here and won by Frenchman Nicolas Portal, of the AG2R team.
Spaniard Jose Enrique Gutierrez, of the Phonak team, retained the race leader's jersey.
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