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RadioShack shift focus to stage victories

Not a good day for Andreas Klöden (RadioShack) as the German crashed on the descent of the Hourquette d'Ancizan.

Not a good day for Andreas Klöden (RadioShack) as the German crashed on the descent of the Hourquette d'Ancizan. (Image credit: Sirotti)

RadioShack will turn their attention to stage wins after their third potential GC leader, Andreas Klöden, abandoned the race on stage 13 to Lourdes. The 36-year-old German had been suffering from injuries after succumbing to multiple crashes in this year's race. After slipping off the back of today's bunch after an electric first hour of racing the German decided to throw in the towel.

It leaves the American squad with just five riders in the race and although they still possess two riders who've cracked the top ten in previous Tours in Levi Leipheimer and Haimar Zubeldia, both are outside the top 10 with Leipheimer carrying wounds for his own tumbles from the first week.

"Andreas tried and he wanted to start and thought that if he could get through today and tomorrow and even lose some time he could get better for the Alps and then try for a stage," said RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel.

"It wasn't possible though. He was in too much pain and the pace was just too hard at the start of the race and he simply couldn't keep up with the peloton."

Janez Brajkovic was forced to retire after suffering a concussion and broken collarbone in the fifth stage. Chris Horner left with a concussion and broken nose after stage eight and with Kloden and Yaroslav Popovych - who did not start stage 10 - Bruyneel's squad are down to the bare bones.

"Levi and Haimear can both still ride a good GC but what's a good GC if you come and get 9th or 10th. That's not what we came here for but that's life.

"From here on in we go for stage wins."

Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson is the Managing Editor at Cyclingnews. Based in the UK, he coordinates the global coverage for the website. Having joined Cyclingnews in April 2008, he has covered several Tour de France, the Spring Classics, and the London Olympic Games in 2012.

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