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Updated at 4:11 a.m., Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cycling: Title contender Evans crashes in 9th stage of Tour

Associated Press

BAGNERES-DE-BIGORRE, France Tour de France contender Cadel Evans crashed during the race's ninth stage Sunday, bloodying the left side of his body but getting back on his bike to continue riding.

The Australian scraped his left elbow, thigh and knee in the spill about halfway through the 139.2-mile ride into the Pyrenees from Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre.

After the crash Evans rode alongside the car of Tour race doctor Gerard Porte, who appeared to clean the wound and apply a bandage near Evans' left shoulder.

"He has multiple cuts on the shoulder, elbow, hips, knees," Porte said. "They are superficial, they are not too deep."

Moments after mopping up Evans' cuts, Porte treated another Tour contender, Alejandro Valverde, who still has cuts and bruises down his right side after falling in the fifth stage.

Evans, the Silence-Lotto team leader, entered the stage second overall 6 seconds behind Kim Kirchen of Luxembourg and was widely seen as a leading contender to win the title when the three-week race ends in Paris on July 27.

Details were not immediately available about what caused the crash, which happened on a downhill curve and badly tore Evans' jersey in several places.

Details were not immediately available about what caused the crash which happened on a downhill curve and badly tore Evans' jersey in several places.

"It was quite a heavy crash and ... it's sure to be hurting," said Hendrik Redant, a team director of the Silence-Lotto team. "The good thing is he's got back on the bike. He stayed calm, which is a good sign."