Leipheimer loses time in crash

Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) grits his teeth as he attempts to follow Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack).

Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) grits his teeth as he attempts to follow Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack). (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)

Luck is not on the side of Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) so far during this Tour de France. In stage 5 from Carhaix to Cap Fréhel, the American rider hurt his left wrist in a crash and one day later in stage 6, he was among the victims once again.

Deep into a rain-soaked finale of the longest stage in this year's Tour, the 37-year-old Leipheimer crashed spectacularly and as a result, lost one minute and five seconds on the other general classification favorites. He tumbled to 31st overall, now down 1:23 from race leader Thor Hushovd.

"It was a silly crash," said Leipheimer. "It was super-dangerous with the soaking rain and the small roads. We knew there was a 1.5km uphill at the end, so it was important to be right in front."

On the often twisting roads through the Calvados region in the west of France, the peloton entered the finale on wet and slippery roads. Riders spanned the whole width of the roads toward Lisieux, a popular pilgrimage town.

"You just try to shoot through some gaps and one time, it closed up on me, and I was pinned against the guardrail. I kind of surfed the guardrail for 20 metres. Thankfully that slowed me down.

"Eventually the guardrail ended, and then I fell onto the ground. It didn't do anything. I scraped my elbow a little bit. Compared to yesterday's crashes, that's nothing."

A RadioShack teammate dropped back to support Leipheimer in his pursuit of the peloton, but the time loss was unavoidable.

"I lost a minute. That sucks."

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