Efimkin fights back after Tour crash

Injuries healing prior to Alpine stages

Russia's Vladimir Efimkin promised this morning in Colmar to continue his fight for a top 10 classification in the Tour de France despite a crash three days ago. He is 14th overall with one week of racing left, including the Alpine mountains.

"The third week is very important, if you look at last year's results you know that some of the other riders will slip out of the top 10," he told Cyclingnews.

Efimkin crashed early into stage 11 to Saint-Fargeau, but was able to finish with the race favourites. He is now 2:45 behind race leader Rinaldo Nocentini and 29 seconds behind 10th placed Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne).

"Before the crash I was going well. I have pain all over: in my knee, all up and down my body. It is easy to crash here, the roads are narrow and there are a lot of us. What's difficult is to remain in the race."

His AG2R La Mondiale teammate Rinaldo Nocentini has led the race for one week. He is not an overall favourite and should lose the race lead tomorrow.

Efimkin placed tenth overall in his first Tour last year. The next stages will determine where he will finish this year: there is a mountaintop finish to Verbier tomorrow and one to Le Grand-Bornand on Wednesday. Monday is a rest day and Tuesday is a high-mountain day that finishes with a descent to Bourg-St-Maurice.

"I have to take all the days with regularity and avoid exploding. I ask a lot of my legs, but I don't know how they will respond. I have days when I felt very good, and I hope those will coincide with the mountain days."

Fans from Russia to the USA are supporting Efimkin at the Tour de France. His American wife and baby live near Sacramento, California, and send him messages everyday.

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