Another blow for Team RadioShack as Popovych withdraws
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another blow for Team RadioShack as Popovych withdraws

by Shane Stokes at 6:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
 
Klöden under pressure due to back injury

Yaroslav PopovychFamously lucky during the Tour in its previous incarnation as the US Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams, RadioShack is experiencing the opposite during the 2011 Tour de France. Yaroslav Popovych is the latest team rider to experience disappointment, being forced out of the race due to illness. He joins previous withdrawals Janez Brajkovic and Chris Horner, who were both involved in bad crashes.

The team announced his withdrawal this morning, stating that he has had a fever since Sunday. “As the rest day didn’t bring any amelioration, the team decided not to let him start in Aurillac. The former Tour de France stage winner will undergo some extra tests today,” it said.

Popovych has been battling since two crashes in the fifth stage. Team-mates Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden are also amongst the long list of fallers, with the former dropping out of contention as a result of three crashes, and the latter starting today’s stage stiff after falling on Sunday.

Klöden was taken to hospital that evening and received an x-ray. That ruled out fractures, but he suffers from bad bruising to his lower back. He is best placed of the team in the overall standings, starting today’s stage eighth overall, but will need to return to full fitness if he is to preserve that position in the Pyrenees.

The team started the race with four designated leaders, namely Tour de Suisse winner Leipheimer, Tour of California victor Horner, last year’s Critérium du Dauphiné victor Brajkovic and Klöden, who this year took the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and finished second overall in Paris-Nice. Less than halfway through the event, all its hopes rest on the German rider. He finished second overall in 2004 and again in 2006.

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