Tour shorts: Lloyd abandons, Cancellara to follow?

Lloyd abandons

Lampre's Matthew Lloyd has been forced to drop out of the Tour de France with a fracture to his elbow, Lampre announced today. The Australian crashed on stage 8  to Porrentruy, but soldiered on through to the end of the stage and in the time trial before submitting to x-rays.

The team doctor found a fracture to his radius near the elbow, which will need to be immobilized for 8 days.

"I'm really sad to quit the Tour de France after a bad first part and just before the stages that could suit me better. I would have given my support to the team and to Michele [Scarponi]. This morning I had pain in the elbow, so I'm not surprised it's broken. I'll wait to recover and I'll try to be ready for Vuelta a Espana," Lloyd said.

Cancellara to abandon?

Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad seems to have inside information regarding RadioShack's Fabian Cancellara, and alleges that the Swiss powerhouse could leave the Tour early. While it is public knowledge that Cancellara's wife is pregnant with the couple's second child, the exact due date has never been revealed. "Sometime in summer," Cancellara was always quoted as saying.

Now, the paper's website wrote that the baby was expected just after the Tour de France, but that the delivery could reportedly be even before that. "It's happening very quickly and the baby could be coming sooner than expected," an inside source was quoted.

"If it is so, then I will take a helicopter to the hospital to be with my wife when she delivers," commented Cancellara, who would thus be abandoning the race. "I still have two important goals this year: an Olympic medal and the birth of my second child." (HK)

Voeckler feared Prost over ideal line

He may have been struggling with on-going tendinitis in his knee, but Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) was focused on delivering a solid performance when it came to the Stage 9 individual time trial in Besançon. The Frenchman finished 66th for the stage, 5:22 down on the winning time of Bradley Wiggins (Sky).

"I had a secret weapon: Alain Prost was in the Europcar team car," he revealed to "I had to follow the ideal line, because I did not want criticism from Alain."

The four-time Formula One Drivers' Champion has long been a fan of cycling, and often takes part in the L'Etape du Tour and this year he rode the Cape Epic in South Africa. Nicknamed ‘The Professor’ for his analytical approach to motor sport, Prost praised the efforts of his compatriot.

"He went fast, he has done well," Prost said.

Stortoni chased by police?

Simone Stortoni of the Lampre squad received lots of public attention on Monday's time trial, but it was not because of his fast speed. Unfortunately for him, the Italian did not have a team car to follow him on the 41.5km course to Besançon, nor a neutral mechanical assistance car.

At the start, it was thus quickly decided that a police car should follow him on the road in case he needed a new wheel. But the spectators alongside the parcours were quite surprised, and some even thought that Stortoni was being chased by police... (HK)

And what of Contador?

Alberto Contador is conspicuous by his absence at La Grande Boucle, as the Spaniard is currently serving a doping ban from a positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France, but we've got official word that Contador is 100 percent confirmed for the Eneco Tour. Contador's first day of freedom from his doping ban happens to coincide with the first day of competition at the WorldTour race, taking place August 6-12 in Belgium and the Netherlands.

"The Eneco Tour will be a very special event for me, for many reasons," said Contador. "To begin, I am eager to return to competition because what ultimately each rider wants is to compete with others. In addition, the Tour crosses two countries where cycling culture is rooted in the genes and where I've always felt at home. Maybe the parcours is not quite to my advantage, but it is my duty to make sure of finding the right rhythm in view of my future goals this season."

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