LOS ANGELES (AFP) Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong abandoned the Tour of California after crashing early in the fifth stage on Thursday. Sorry to report there was a huge crash, RadioShack team manager Johan Bruyneel said via Twitter. Lance had to abandon and is going to the hospital for x-rays. Team spokesman Philippe Maertens said Armstrong was evaluated by doctors in the team bus who gave him eight stitches under his left eye, and also had a severe left elbow contusion. He was taken to hospital for precautionary X-rays, which were negative. Armstrong, defending champion and teammate Levi Leipheimer, and Saxo Banks Stuart OGrady were among those involved in the crash, which came as the road narrowed departing the town of Visalia. A rider in the main group skidded on some gravel and fell, causing others to crash. Armstrong resumed riding after the crash but eventually gave up as his eye swelled shut, Maertens said. It was a shame to have to abandon early and not be able to help Levi to another victory, Armstrong said. It was one of those crashes that put a bunch of us down. I tried to give it a go but my eye was swollen so I couldnt see properly and the pain in the elbow prevented me from holding the bars for the remainder of the stage. Armstrong had started his day denying doping accusations leveled by former teammate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after a positive dope test. Landis has gone public with confessions of his own doping, and alleged that Armstrong and Bruyneel were also involved in systematic doping. We have nothing to hide, Armstrong said before the fifth stage began. We have nothing to run from. Armstrong had gone into the fifth stage in 16th place overall, 27 seconds off the pace of American race leader David Zabriskie. Armstrong, using the Tour of California as part of his buildup to a Tour de France campaign, said he would take a few days off and resume training. It was a relief to learn there were no breaks, said Armstrong, who had surgery to repair a broken collarbone last year. I will take a few days to recover and be on the bike as soon as possible