posted on Aug, 14 2004 @ 11:37 AM
ATHENS, Greece (AP) - World champion Igor Astarloa of Spain and Dutch veteran Michael Boogerd were forced to abandon the Olympic road race Saturday
after crashing badly on the opening lap.
Astarloa went down together with a small bunch of riders only a few minutes into the twisting, 224.4-kilometer (139.4-mile) course that circles 17
times through the narrow streets near the Acropolis and parliament buildings.
Boogerd was treated for a bruised right shoulder and ribs. Astarloa was also briefly hospitalized but released to rejoin the Olympic Village.
Colombian outsider Marlon Perez and Russia's Vladimir Karpets also were forced out of the race because of the early crash.
The course has been criticized as dangerous by several riders because of its tight bends, stretches of cobblestone and even patches of spilled oil.
Astarloa had been among the favorites to win the race.