Leipheimer out …


Leipheimer pulls out of Tour
By Agence France Presse
Published: Jul. 17, 2009

American Levi Leipheimer has withdrawn from the Tour de France with a broken wrist, his Astana team announced on Friday.

The 35-year-old American sustained the injury in a fall 2km from the finish line of Thursday’s 12th stage.

He crossed the line at the back of the peloton but still sat in fourth spot in the Tour’s general classification overnight.

“He was fine last night but in a lot of pain this morning,” Astana spokesman Philippe Maertens told AFP on Friday.

The Californian, who was also left with bruising to the right side of his back and road rashes on his right shoulder, lower back and hip, went to hospital earlier Friday to undergo an x-ray which confirmed a broken wrist, Maertens said.

Astana team manager Johan Bruyneel said the loss of Leipheimer may force the team to rethink its tactics in the final week.

“It’s definitely not a good thing,” Bruyneel acknowledged. “After the crash, I thought there might be something. You hope there won’t be and in the first instance we didn’t think there was something broken.

“But he had a fairly bad night and we took him to hospital and saw the fracture.

“Obviously he’s out and that changes a lot for us,” said Bruyneel. “He was in fourth place and could have potentially won the Tour. We’ve lost an important option and this will motivate other teams to attack us.”