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By Andrew Hood
Savoldelli crashes on evacuation
Two-time Giro d’Italia champion Paolo Savoldelli crashed Thursday coming off the Pla-de-Beret climb following Thursday’s 11th stage and received 15 stitches to his right eyebrow.
According to Discovery Channel team officials, it appeared a spectator struck the Italian in the eyebrow as he rode down off the narrow, twisting road after the end of Thursday’s climbing stage. He then crashed as a result of the contact.
Savoldelli rode up to the team hotel holding a napkin to stop the bleeding to the cut above his eye. Blood was visible above the cut and the Italian slipped into the team hotel.
Rather than wait for a team bus or team cars for the evacuation, scores of riders chose to ride down the descent and return to the team hotels sprinkled along the valley floor near Vielha some 22km away. The road was still closed to vehicle traffic, but fans were walking and cycling down the descent.
Team officials said Savoldelli is expected to start Friday’s stage.
Armstrong to arrive Monday
Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong is expected to arrive at the race on Monday, Discovery Channel officials confirmed to VeloNews.
Armstrong surprised many when he told Austin reporter Susanne Halliburton that he was going to return to the Tour despite earlier statements that he wasn’t interested in coming back to France following a string of damaging stories in L’Equipe last year.
Armstrong’s itinerary and schedule are still not finalized, but Armstrong is expected to be with the team during Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s decisive climbing stages in the Alps and then return to Paris for the finale.