Ekimov out for months

Russian hard man Viatcheslav Ekimov's career is in danger of coming to a premature end, as the first prognosis is that the injuries he sustained in a crash while training last week could keep him from racing for four to five months.

Ekimov crashed when he hit a pothole while out riding with his teammate Lance Armstrong in Austin, Texas, last Thursday. Armstrong was not involved in the crash at all, as Ekimov had stopped and was chasing when he hit the hole, hitting his chest on the stem and then falling on his back. As a result, he broke his sternum and a vertebra in his back. He was taken to hospital but has been released.

Despite the likelihood of him having to take a long time off the bike, Ekimov's team director Johan Bruyneel said that early retirement wasn't an option. "Slava is not thinking of stopping yet," Bruyneel told Sportwereld.be. "He is as hard as nails. He hopes to be competitive again by the end of the season."

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