Eki definitely out of Tour

Citing Russian media sources, news agency Reuters is reporting that Lance Armstrong's Discovery Channel team-mate Viatcheslav Ekimov is definitely out of this year's Tour de France after a crash in training last week.

Ekimov, 39, crashed after hitting a pothole, sustaining injuries that included a fractured vertebra. "Doctors told me that it will take two months to recover," said Ekimov. "In any case I will miss the Tour this year. It's a pity because I really wanted to ride with Armstrong in his last Tour.

"It also would have been my 15th Tour and I wanted to equal the record for most starts in that race but when you have a spinal injury it must be taken seriously." [Joop Zoetemelk rode and completed 16 Tours - ed.]

Ekimov's Tour absence is also a blow to late-thirty-something cyclists the world over, who were previously able to reassure ourselves that we couldn't be past it if there was a guy in the Tour older than us.

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