(Photos: Yuzuru Sunada)
American Chris Horner could be forced out of the Tour de France after fracturing his nose and suffering concussion in a crash on the seventh stage, his RadioShack team said Friday.
RadioShack said Horner crashed 35 km from the finish line of the 218km stage, which he finished in last place at 12min 41sec behind stage winner Mark Cavendish.
A team statement said: "It remains unclear whether Team RadioShack's Chris Horner will be able to start in stage 8 of the Tour de France. "That decision will be made on Saturday morning."
Horner was involved in a crash at 35k from the finish in Chateauroux.
"After the stage he was brought to the hospital in Chateauroux where a concussion, a nose fracture and a calf hematoma were diagnosed. "Horner remained foggy about his surroundings and the events of the day several hours after the stage ended. His situation will be evaluated after he rests overnight."
As well as Horner, compatriot Levi Leipheimer, Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych, and Spaniards Haimar Zubeldia and Markel Irizar also crashed. German Andreas Kloden the only one of the original starters still in GC (general classification) contention did not crash.
Photo: Team Radio Shack
Team Manager Johan Bruyneel said after the stage:
"We don't know how the crash happened, but I just spoke with the guys and we were basically on the right side of the peloton near the front. "They came out of an open area into a covered area and they all went off to the right. We had a few guys right there: Levi, Haimar, Markel and of course Chris.
"He was the worse. When I got there, he was lying in a ditch and was very shaken. It was obvious he'd hit very hard."