Team RadioShack Struck by Additional Misfortune in Tour de France 2011
It remains unclear whether Team RadioShack's General Classification contender Chris Horner will be able to start in stage 8 of the Tour de France after 39-year-old Horner was involved in a rough crash about 35 kilometers from the finish of stage 7 in Châteauroux earlier today.
It remains unclear whether Team RadioShack's General Classification contender Chris Horner will be able to start in stage 8 of the Tour de France after 39-year-old Horner was involved in a rough crash about 35 kilometers from the finish of stage 7 in Châteauroux earlier today. Horner was riding at about 75 km/h when the crash happened and he was catapulted off his bike and into the ditch.
The decision of whether Horner will remain part of the 2011 Tour de France peloton will be made on Saturday morning. His situation will be evaluated after Horner has rested overnight in the hospital.
Horner was admirably able to complete today's stage, finishing twelve minutes behind stage winner Mark Cavendish (Team HTC-HighRoad).
After the stage Horner was brought to the hospital in Châteauroux where he was later diagnosed with a concussion, a nose fracture and a calf hematoma. In the hospital Horner remained foggy about his surroundings and the events of the day several hours after the stage ended.
Team RadioShack's bad luck in today's stage also involved Yaroslav Popovych, Haimar Zubeldia, Markel Irizar and other GC contender Levi Leipheimer. A big crash affected some eighty riders who were forced to chase back after the peloton split because of the crash, but the riders crossed the finish line having lost more than three minutes.
Remarkably within three days a strong four-captain-team approach for Team RadioShack has now been reduced to one team leader, with Andreas Klöden being the only Team RadioShack rider still in GC contention.
"I can tell you what happened from the car perspective," Team Manager Johan Bruyneel told Roadcycling.com and our mobile sister site Roadcycling.mobi after the stage.
"We don't know how the crash happened, but I just spoke with the riders and we were basically on the right side of the peloton near the front. They came out of an open area into a covered area and they all went off to the right. We had a few guys right there. Levi, Haimar, Markel and of course Chris (Horner). He was the worst. When I got there, he was lying in a ditch and was very shaken. It was obvious he'd hit very hard," Bruyneel added.
"Horner finished the stage and I think basically he's ok physically. He has a few bruises and swelling. But we're taking him to the hospital to have a scan. He doesn't really know where he is right now or what happened. We'll see what the results are but I fear the worst."
"Obviously it's been three difficult days for us with Jani (Brajkovic) crashing out, yesterday, Levi crashing and again today, and now maybe losing Chris. We'll see what the damage is tonight and tomorrow morning and then we'll go on."
Commenting on today's misfortune Levi Leipheimer said "There is just nothing you can do. We were well-positioned but were going 75 km/h and everyone was nervous. It's been a long first week. We've had a lot of technical, critical finishes, uphill finishes, a lot of small roads, some bad weather. I think all of that together has created the nervousness and the GC standings are still very close so until that separates the peloton doesn't really calm down."
"At 35 kilometers to go there was a huge crash. I have no idea what caused it. Nerves in the peloton I guess. People are taking risks. Everybody wants to be in the front and there is only so much room. Today it went down like a house of cards. It was massive. I just got scraped up, but three days, three crashes. It just hasn't been my Tour so far," Leipheimer added.
With so much time lost for two of its GC contenders and one having exited the Tour, Team RadioShack has decided to ride exclusively for remaining GC contender German Andreas Klöden in the remaining part of the Tour de France.
"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," Leipheimer concluded before heading for a well-deserved massage.
The whole team here at Roadcycling.com and Roadcycling.mobi is wishing Chris Horner a speedy recovery.
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