And then there were 5! After just a few minutes of pedaling into today’s Stage 13, Team RadioShack’s Andreas Klöden was forced to abandon his Tour effort this year succumbing to numerous injuries from several bad crashes. With numerous bruises and bad scrapes the most serious injury was Andreas’ back, which caused him severe pain.
It was said at the start of today’s race he was unable to even put on his own shoes this morning without help. But in a valiant effort, he tried to start the 153-kilometer mountain stage today heading out of the starting city of Pau, but in a very short time he simply stopped pedaling and pulled over to the side of the road. He was in such pain, that chase car support had to literally help him unclip from his pedals so he could get in the car for the ride back to the hotel.
Combined with the abandonments of RadioShack’s Janez Brajkovic due to a concussion and broken collar bone, Chris Horner with a concussion and broken nose, and Yaroslav Popovych due to a strength-sapping illness and spiking fever, Team RadioShack is left with a squad of just 5 riders: Levi Leipheimer, Haimar Zubeldia, Markel Irizar, Dmitriy Muravyev and Sergio Paulinho.
By George Hurst, staff writer