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Ardennes Classics unlikely for Kirchen

Having broken his collarbone and chipped the bone in his shoulder as a result of his stage four crash in the Tour of California, it looks unlikely that Kim Kirchen will be able to defend his Flèche Wallonne crown this spring.

Kirchen won the event in 2008 but a fall in the California stage to Clovis, caused by a rain jacket becoming lodged in his wheel, has almost certainly ended his chances of taking a second Flèche title.

The Luxembourger was Columbia-Highroad's weapon of choice for the Ardennes Classics, given the strength he showed last year. It's another unfortunate accident for the American team, which lost André Greipel to injury during stage three of January's Tour Down Under.

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