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Špilak allowed to remain in Tour

By:
Gregor Brown
Published:
July 18, 2009, 12:54 BST,
Updated:
July 18, 2009, 14:06 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, July 18, 2009
Simon Spilak is great support for Ballan and Lampre.

Simon Spilak is great support for Ballan and Lampre.

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Officials overlook Colmar's time limit

Simon Špilak considers himself lucky to start today's Tour de France stage to Besançon. He finished Friday's 13th stage to Colmar alone and outside the time limit, but race officials have allowed him to continue in the race.

"On the descent of two climbs fans were on the road," he told Cyclingnews.

Rain and cold temperatures made the Tour's 13th stage to Colmar more difficult for riders. The 200-kilometre stage covered two big climbs, the Col de la Schlucht and the Col du Platzerwasel.

"He had to ride the last 100 kilometres on his own. His legs were just not going and it became worse when he encountered traffic and fans on the road," said Lampre team director, Maurizio Piovani.

Špilak still feels sore from his two crashes in the stage from Girona to Barcelona, eight days ago. Although officials likely based their decision on the Slovenian encountering fans and traffic, rather than the 22-year-old's condition.

"Afterwards, I thought: 'I have to finish the Tour,'" Špilak said.

It is Špilak's second Grand Tour stage race after racing the Giro d'Italia in May. He finished yesterday's stage 45:45 behind winner Heinrich Haussler and is in 128th overall, one hour and 28 minutes behind leader Rinaldo Nocentini.
 

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