Chris Horner out of Tour de France, Team RadioShack all for Klöden
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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Chris Horner out of Tour de France, Team RadioShack all for Klöden

by Xylon van Eyck at 5:44 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
 
The Shack puts all its might behind the German

Chris HornerFollowing his bad crash during yesterday’s seventh stage, Team RadioShack has confirmed that Chris Horner will be a non-starter today in the Tour de France.

The rider suffered concussion in his fall and crossed the finish line dazed and confused; soon afterwards, while being loaded into an ambulance, he showed memory problems in asking those helping him if he had crashed.

Horner is expected to spend the weekend in hospital. He is the second RadioShack leader to pull out of the race this week, with Janez Brajkovic being forced to withdraw on stage five due to concussion and a broken collarbone.

Levi Leipheimer has lost time due to falls as well, and although this years Tour de Suisse champion is still in the race, he trails the yellow jersey by 4’29”.

“Obviously it’s been three difficult days for us with Jani crashing out, yesterday Levi crashing and again today, and now maybe losing Chris,” said team manager Johan Bruyneel yesterday evening, speaking prior to this morning’s news.

Horner was taken to a nearby hospital for observation where he spent the night. The decision was taken this morning for him to abandon the race as he has a broken nose, a concussion and bruising on his calf muscle.

The only RadioShack captain who has managed to stay out of trouble thus far has been Andreas Klöden. The German currently sits in fifth place overall, ten seconds behind yellow jersey Thor Hushovd.

When asked what the team’s plan for the rest of the race was, Leipheimer said, “Definitely for Klödi. He looks strong and has ridden really well this first week. He’s great at sniffing out the safe spot in the group and he’s coming into form at the right time.

“So first for Klödi, then we’ll look for stage wins, we have the team GC on our minds. We’re here to fight. I’m thankful I’m still in the race. It was warfare out there.”

Klöden who has twice finished on the Tour de France podium in 2004 and 2006 has had an outstanding year, with four victories to show for it.

The first one came in Paris-Nice when he outsprinted Samuel Sanchez on stage five. A time trial win followed in the Critérium International before he went onto take the overall spoils in Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco plus the time trial in the Giro del Trentino.

The German will hope to stay upright and out of danger as the race heads into the mountains. Today’s stage to Super Besse is the first real mountain stage, although bigger climbs lie in wait further ahead. A strong finish today could see Klöden take yellow, although he’s starting the stage nine seconds behind Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team). The Australian is just one second away from the Maillot Jaune and is deemed most likely to succeed Hushovd.

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