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Kloden still in pain but to continue Tour

LE LIORAN, France (AFP) – Germany’s Andreas Kloden will continue the Tour de France despite suffering lower back injuries suffered in a spill on the crash-marred ninth stage, RadioShack said Monday.

Kloden was left as the American outfit’s only leader after the team was decimated by crashes earlier this week, with Chris Horner and Janez Brajkovic crashing out and Levi Leipheimer losing several minutes.

RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel had expressed fears for the German, a former podium finisher on the Tour, after Sunday’s stage.

“The question is how do you recover from something like this,” Bruyneel said.

No fractures were detected when Kloden underwent scans at a local hospital on Sunday, although team spokesman Philippe Maertens told AFP that Kloden is suffering from a strained muscle.

“Nothing has changed for Andreas. He still has pain in his back and it has not got worse, which is usually a good sign as the day after these crashes the pain can intensify,” said Maertens.

“The only time he is really feeling the pain is when he is climbing. Thankfully for him there is no uphill finish tomorrow.”

Kloden rode with the remaining members of his team for “just over an hour” on Monday’s rest day, added Maertens.

Tuesday’s stage has a few small climbs but finishes on a descent while Wednesday’s 11th stage is mostly flat.

On Thursday the peloton will begin three tough days of racing in the Pyrenees.

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