By Susan Westemeyer
With the last big mountain stage running, and two gigantic mountains ahead where Alberto Contador's pink jersey could have been threatened, it was a surprise when Andreas Klöden abandoned the Giro d'Italia during the penultimate stage. But the German, who had played a strong domestique for Contador the previous day, was suffering from a fever and chills and could no longer ride. "This morning I felt like I had been run over," he wrote on his website, andreas-kloeden.com. "During today's stage nothing worked and there was just no point in continuing."
He noted that he had been feeling worse the last few days and that after Friday's stage, "in which I once more gave everything for Alberto and the team," he just started feeling worse.
Astana spokesman Philippe Maertens told Cyclingnews, "He has been sick for a week, but stayed in the race in order not to weaken the team. Yesterday evening it already didn't look good for today. He probably went to deep yesterday." He added, "Andreas has a respiratory infection. It is difficult to say now, but it could be a lung infection. He had a fever all night." Maertens concluded, "he was a super team-mate for Alberto Contador."
Klöden noted that he would return home to rest up and recuperate.