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Spaniard crashes with around 100km left of today's stage, tries to carry on but forced to give up...

UPDATED: Alberto Contador has abandoned the Tour de France this afternoon - after riding 18 kilometres with what turns out to be a broken tibia in a desperate attempt to remain in the race. The Spaniard pulled out of today's Stage 10 with around 80 kilometres left to ride after a heavy crash earlier on as he descended in the wet.

In a statement issued this evening, his manager at Tinkoff-Saxo, Bjarne Riis, said: “Alberto crashed on a fast and straight part of the descent. He was reaching for his pocket and the bike was swept away under him probably because of a bump or hole in the road.

"Alberto was in the shape of his life and the entire team had our eyes fixed on the podium in Paris and the work we would have to do to get there.”

Some riders who saw Contador crash gave their own version of what had happened. According to a tweet from Danish journalist Mikkel Condé, Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang said: “Contador took a big risk. On a descent with bad asphalt, he passed us, went 10-15 km/h faster. 1k later he fell on his ass." 

Meanwhile, the Dutch journalist and commentator José Been said on Twitter that Lotto-Belisol’s Jurgen Van den Broeck had told Sporza: "It was Contador's own fault. He stepped on the pedals to overtake and rode in a hole."

Following the crash, which happened with around 100 kilometres still to ride of the 161.5 kilometre stage from Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles, the Tinkoff-Saxo rider waited as the race doctor strapped his right knee.

He also had tears to the left hip of his bibshorts as well as the rear of his jersey, and seemed to be in pain from a wrist injury.

Ironically, given the vast media presence at the Tour nobody was pointing a camera in Contador's direction when he crashed. Social media rushed to fill the void, rumours swept the Twitterverse that the frame of Contador's Speicalized had broken in the impact. Certainly a picture from AFP, tweeted by Telegraph Sport journalist John MacLeary shows a bike with the Spanish rider's frame number clearly snapped both on the downtube and where the top tube meets the seatpost.

 

 

However, some claimed that the picture is of Contador's spare bike, said to have fallen from his team car's roof rack and then have been run over by another vehicle, Dutch website Nusport.NL was later reported to be quoting Belkin's team manager Meerijn Zeeman as saying that a Tinkokff Saxo bike did fall land on a Belkin team car after bikes became entangled following a close pass from a Tinkoff - Saxo car, he doesn't appear to mention any damage though.

To further add to the fog of rumour and counter-rumour, Danish television channel TV2 says Contador was actually riding a bike lent to him by Nicolas Roche following an earlier crash - and pictures of the bike beside the rider at the roadside as the doctor treated him suggest that one was undamaged.

The picture cleared only somewhat during the evening when Specialized released a statement  wishing Contador a speedy recovery and pulling together all the strands of information available to them about the crash. 

"All of us at Specialized are devastated to see Alberto Contador withdraw from the Tour. He is a true champion with the heart of a warrior and he had a great chance at Yellow this year. We have spoken to Alberto's brother as well as his personal mechanic (Faustino Muñoz) and the mechanic who was at the scene (Rune Kristensen), and contrary to some early, unconfirmed reports, frame failure was not involved in Alberto's incident today. Nicolas Roche was involved in a separate incident today and while his bike was laying on the road it was run over by a car causing it to break, potentially giving rise to the initial inaccurate reporting. Live race reporting is difficult and sometimes mistakes are made. We are continuing to research the events of today and will share any further details as we learn more."

However, the bike pictured in John MacLeary's tweet clearly bore Contador race number - 31, not Roche's and is certainly not Roche's first choice bike he's on the new McLaren Tarmac SL which has a distinctive paint job (see pic below) - and at $15,000 a pop isnt' the sort of bike you'd want to make a habit of running over

Yet another version of events was supplied to Cyclingtips.com - who were told that the bike pictured was indeed Contador's but was his spare (and yes, his mechanic was enough of a perfectionist to have a race number on both of Contador's bike). The spare had been inadvertently run over by the team car after the mechanic got it down for Contador, at which point point presumably Contador was given Roche's bike instead. 

Following the crash Contador, clearly in pain, eventually remounted with a 5 minute deficit on the group he had been riding with including his chief rival for the overall victory, Astana's Vincenzo Nibali, who went on to win today's stage at La Planche des Belles Filles and is back in the race leader's yellow jersey.

“After the crash, Alberto got back on the bike and we tried for about 18 kilometres to keep him in the race," continued Riis. Despite his best efforts and an impressive show of willpower, he had to abandon the race.

The rider was taken to the finish in the team car and his leg was x-rayed, revealing the fracture, as Riis explained: “Alberto has broken his tibia just below the knee. It’s not a complicated fracture but it probably requires surgery. He will stay with us tonight and tomorrow he will travel back to Madrid to undergo further examinations and a surgery if necessary."

His absence from the race means that there are now no former winners left in this year's Tour de France after Andy Schleck and Chris Froome abandoned last week. The Team Sky rider was quick to tweet his commiserations to Contador.

However, Riis made it clear that it's premature to talk about when Contador might return to racing. “We will naturally have to look ahead," he said. "But right now it’s to early to say anything about the possibility of Alberto riding Vuelta a Espana. It depends on his recovery and on how fast he can get back on the bike and start training again”,

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

78 comments

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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Any update on the reports of a broken frame?

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daddyELVIS [655 posts] 2 years ago
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What a Tour!!! Its Nib's to lose now. Porte will fancy his chances, assuming all gone well today.

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 2 years ago
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Interesting Vuelta coming up too!

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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I said earlier in the week that I didn't think Porte stood a chance of getting on the podium.

At this rate, I'm not sure enough of them will finish to fill all three steps on the podium....

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cub [86 posts] 2 years ago
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Apparently the dash in S-WORKS stands for 'hit that never '

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cub [86 posts] 2 years ago
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My fantasy team is ruined.

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mzungu [40 posts] 2 years ago
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farrell wrote:

Any update on the reports of a broken frame?

This, would be interesting to see what happened there.

I'm guessing he stacked it and the bike was damaged in the crash, not the cause OF the crash, but still...

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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Cafe Roubaix have just retweeted someone saying the cause of the crash was the frame collapsing under Contador.

You have to raise a slight smile at that turn of events.

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 2 years ago
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pics on twitter showing a not-very-broken-looking bike but a quite-broken-looking bertie

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MarcMyWords [71 posts] 2 years ago
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farrell wrote:

Any update on the reports of a broken frame?

Just seen a picture of it on Twitter and it certainly didn't look broken...

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Jimmy Ray Will [470 posts] 2 years ago
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Wowsers.... at this rate Wiggins really could have won this years tour!

Get well soon Bertie... the Vuelta is shaping up to be a corker!

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 2 years ago
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Think pics on twitter are spare bike. Also on twitter that Contador hit something, which broke bike.

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 2 years ago
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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 2 years ago
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Super Domestique wrote:

PIC of bike here
http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cycling/alberto-contador-pulls-out-of-tour-a...

That's Roche's bike apparently.

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 2 years ago
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Super Domestique wrote:

PIC of bike here
http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cycling/alberto-contador-pulls-out-of-tour-a...

That's Roche's bike apparently.

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boardmanrider [89 posts] 2 years ago
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So with Froome asking Contador on a date at this year's Vuelta does this mean that Wiggins will not go now? Be very interesting to see what SKY have to say about this. Didn't Wiggins say he would use the Vuelta as preparation for the Worlds today?

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boardmanrider [89 posts] 2 years ago
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So with Froome asking Contador on a date at this year's Vuelta does this mean that Wiggins will not go now? Be very interesting to see what SKY have to say about this. Didn't Wiggins say he would use the Vuelta as preparation for the Worlds today?

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 2 years ago
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ajmarshal1 [411 posts] 2 years ago
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Specialized claim that the broken bike people are talking about fell off the roof rack and was not the bike Contador crashed. True or not they're in damage limitation overdrive as rumour of frame failure has gone apocalyptic.

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Him Up North [235 posts] 2 years ago
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Rumours? Among the online cycling cognoscenti? Shurely shome mishtake...  21

The bike in the picture certainly looks like the S-Works Tarmac McLaren which, it was said, was to be rode by Nico Roche only. If that's what $20,000 buys you can keep it...  38

Is it me, or is this the Tour that just keeps on giving?

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TheDoctor [186 posts] 2 years ago
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With all the tweets and comments flying about, it looks like his bike snapped under him and ruined his season.

Gotta love the specialized bike snapped retweet by cafe roubaix !

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Miles253 [198 posts] 2 years ago
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God this tour has been full of it! I'm rooting for Porte now! He has a real chance

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 2 years ago
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great shame, was looking forwards to Contador vs Nibali, oh well, nibali to win!!

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HarrogateSpa [358 posts] 2 years ago
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It does seem now that the broken bike fell off the team car roof, and wasn't anything to do with the crash. The BBC is saying that Contador suffered a broken tibia.

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HarrogateSpa [358 posts] 2 years ago
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The picture editor's budget must be running out if road.cc is reduced to taking photos of the telly!

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goggy [153 posts] 2 years ago
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So the anti-Specialized tirade continues. I'm biased - I ride Specialized, but seriously, any frame can have issues no matter who the manufacturer is.

And of course, it turns out the frame didn't snap at all... so all that excitement about nothing.

 14

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AWPeleton [3325 posts] 2 years ago
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Another rumour is he hit a pot hole which caused him to go down and he's knacked his patella. Nothing to do with the bike.

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Cyclist [295 posts] 2 years ago
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What a tour  41

Contador...ucking follox gastards... That's 20 quid down the pan for the win! Pre tour bet.

Nibbles to lose as has been said, but Porte?? Like they say, every cloud... It looks like he has a double silver lining.

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hampstead_bandit [614 posts] 2 years ago
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you'd have to hit something very hard to break a Tarmac frame, whether the new model or the older SL4, SL3, SL2

I dealt with numbers of "warranties" at two Concept Stores in the UK and most were resolved as crash replacement deals as the rider had ridden into something stationary at speed, or been run over by a car

Specialized are not particularly light in the scheme of road bike frames, they have always erred on the side of caution rather than going stupid light

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Wrongfoot [35 posts] 2 years ago
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After Wiggins/Froome. Is this the Tour that changes how a Director Sportif views having 2 stars in a team? 2 GC casualties to crashes and if you look beyond retirements to lost time (Talansky and even Van Garderen is bandaged up) then resilience looks to be more important than anyone thought at the start of the Tour.

I'm looking forward to see who gets to show their worth in a more open tour. Maybe Nick Roche for a stage win now Tinkoff-Saxo have no hope of GC?

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