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Dave Arthur tries to sort fact from fiction on the mystery (if it is) that's inevitably been dubbed 'Bikegate'

Mondays are rarely as thrilling as yesterday's stage 10 of the Tour de France which provided fireworks, drama and intrigue as race favourite Alberto Contador was forced to abandon after suffering a broken leg in a crash on the 163km stage. But if you were on Twitter, that wasn't the really big story, all attention was focused on the cause of a photo of Contador's broken Specialized Tarmac frame.  Did the frame snapping cause him to crash, seemed to be the general question that most wanted an immediate answer to. 

Unfortunately there were no TV cameras near Contador, instead the first TV viewers knew of the incident was when the director cut to a bloodied Contador standing at the edge of a road, photographers swarming around him and the race medic applying a bandage to a badly cut right knee. There was a bike in the ditch, but it appeared to be Nicolas Roche's McLaren S-Works team bike, and Contador limped on for another 18km on another spare bike. 

In the absence of of any evidence of what caused his crash, and the emergence of a photo of what appears to be his team bike snapped clean in two, speculation ran like wildfire through the social media network. We immediately contacted Specialized who have issued this response:

“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”. -Bjarne Riis, Director Sportif, Tinkoff-Saxo

"Teammates were first to communicate the crash to the team car via race radio. Reports from Tinkoff-Saxo are saying their team car was passing closely to a Team Belkin vehicle and bikes on the roof racks became entangled between the two cars causing Alberto’s spare bike to be broken into two pieces. When a racer has a heavy crash, a mechanic will immediately provide a spare bike as a safety and performance precaution.

"As Alberto’s spare bike was destroyed, Nicolas Roche immediately offered his own race bike so that Alberto could continue the race. With the arrival of the second team car, Alberto was provided his own, secondary spare bike. Unfortunately after riding approximately 18km with what is now known to be a broken tibia, Alberto Contador was forced to abandon the 2014 edition of the Tour de France."

As we pointed out in our report last night though - the bike in the pictures clearly has Contador's race number on it - not Roche's and unless Roche was on a spare bike he is riding a McLaren Tarmac which has a completely different paint job.

But maybe Roche can is the best person to tell us what happened - at least in that initial crash. In his Independent blog posted early this morning he sheds some light on what actually happened. 

"As I helped Alberto up, I noticed his bike was broken [we assume he means crash-damaged - ed] and there was a stream of blood coming from a gash just under his right knee. His wound looked pretty bad but as a rider, my natural instinct was to simply hand him my bike and encourage him to keep going.

"Take my bike Alberto! Go, go, go!"

"Nico, I don't know if I can," he said as he hobbled out onto the road.

"Go and see. Try it, just jump on the bike!"

"As Alberto took off gingerly on my bike, I waited at the side of the road watching what seemed like everybody in the race pass me by. There were cars and groups of dropped riders everywhere, so I held Alberto's broken bike in one hand and waved the other one frantically in the air, afraid the team car would drive past in the chaos."

It seems then that Roche was there when Alberto crashed, stopped and like the dutiful domestique he is, gave the Spaniard his own bike and then stood at the side of the road with Alberto's crash-damaged bike waiting for the Saxo-Tinkoff team car. The bike Roche was holding at that point was intact, as the live footage from the race shows quite clearly. It's a bit less clear in this still, but obvious from the feed.

When the team car stopped to give Roche a spare bike, Contador's crash-damaged bike was put on the top of the car and a short while later, maybe as one team car was trying to overtake the other, Contador's other spare bike on top of the car (Contador has a spare bike on each team car, three in total) got tangled up with the Bianchi atop the Belkin team car, causing the frame to snap.

Above is what appears to be a photo of the bike Contador actually crashed on, the bar tape is covered in mud, and it's clearly not broken. The brake lever hoods are both bent around, as you'd expect in such a high speed crash. There's also no front wheel here, that presumably might have been damaged too. No, Contador came out of the crash worse, his jersey covered in mud and a broken leg. So what of the broken frame photo that did the rounds on Twitter?

The photo above does actually show a Saxo-Tinkoff mechanic untangling a Specialized team bike from a Bianchi atop the Belkin team car, backing up the claim by Specialized that this was the cause of the broken frame. It had nothing to do with Contador's crash, it was a separate incident, but because events unfolded so quickly and dramatically in the race,  many were led into making their own, inaccurate, conclusions.

That version of events makes sense, but there are still questions. For instance, Saxo-Tinkoff have publicly said that Contador's second bike was numbered up, which led to confusion when pictures of it in bits emerged. But as many people have pointed out, the broken bike has Contador's timing chip on it: Logic would dictate that it's the bike he started the race on as it's unusual for a spare bike to have a transponder on. That being said, it's not impossible and pictures of the Saxo-Tinkoff cars at the start show numbered bikes on the roof. Although we haven't seen a high-enough resolution image to check whether they have transponders too.

On top of all that our friendly materials scientist Trevor Allen has been in touch. He's currently doing a PhD on impacting carbon structures, so he feels well qualified to have a look at the aftermath...

Ignoring all comments and speculation, quite a bit can be read into the picture of the broken bike. Failure analysis like this is a widely used, and experts are regularly involved in court cases.

Two tubes of the bike have failed (obviously):

At top end near the seat tube - this appears to be a  tensile failure. The failure surface is quite complex due to the joins with the ST and stays. I suspect there is a mix of join failure and fibre failure in this location all rolled into one, but the key is tensile.

At the down tube - two points of interest: firstly the tube has failed at approximately 45 degrees to its axis. Unlikely a tensile failure, and torsion would be more of a rip - I suspect that is a compressive failure. Secondly the hawkeyed will also notice that the failure interacts with the bottle cage mount. This is will act as a stress concentration, and is possibly the initiation site of the DT failure.

So - tension at the top tube and compression at the down tube.

If you load a bike with a frontal impact – i.e. a horizontal load at the front axle – then you'd get just that: the fork is a long lever arm which will compress the down tube, and because of the rotation about the head tube junction you'll get tension in the top tube with failure occurring at the areas of highest stress.

I can't see how you could drive over a bike and cause that kind of failure of the tubes (why are the wheels and bottle cages intact and the tubes not crushed?). Dropping it from above your head when getting it off the car on to the front wheel would be the right load case, but I suspect the energy wouldn't be sufficient to cause that failure; having the rider on the bike increases the impact energy significantly because of the added momentum in the collision.

If I was asked to look at that bike in my job and guess how it failed, I'd definitely say a big load in from the front. Here are three ways that could happen:

1) A massive pothole with a fistful of last minute front braking (possibly, but not so convinced) or the crash which occurred after the pothole impact or indeed a combination of the two (some damage caused through pothole impact - then said damaged carbon with some delamination hurtles into a tree/verge etc causing a snap)

2) One car drives in to/closely past in same direction another car and two bikes on the racks collide. Contador's bike is likely to be on the outside, as it's just been racked.

3) The mechanic has bike ready for Contador and Belkin drive through (i.e kind of what is in the picture), the bike gets tangled in the rack and there is a convenient tree/verge to support the rear wheel. If this was the case the man holding the bike was pretty lucky he didn't get wedged too!

I don't think the snapped bike caused the fall. Nor do I think the bike snapping in a big crash is necessarily a bad thing.

Latest update

This newly emerged photo provides a much better view of how the Specialized frame snapped as a result of becoming tangled with the Belkin team car rack. You can also see the bike clearly has a race number attached, and though it's not 100% possible to confirm, it does look like there is a transponder fixed to the chainstay. This is the most conclusive photo we have yet seen that shows how the frame suffered the damage, putting to rest the speculation that the frame snapped when he hit a pothole. At least for now...

This is one of the most bizarre incidents that we can recall in the Tour de France. Given the narrowness of the roads through the Vosges  though and the team car racks bristling with spare bikes, it's a wonder it doesn't actually happen more often.

So, Contador's bike didn't snap underneath him, as many thought has happened, or snap when he crashed either. Saxo-Tinkoff's official version of events raises a few further questions but there's nothing in there that can't really be explained. The damage to the bike is inconclusive: given that driving it into another car on the rack, and riding into a pothole, are both a large frontal load, you'd expect either to result in the failure we see.

We wonder what Contador will make of all the fuss, but we're sure he's got more important things on his mind. We wish him a speed recovery. 

Photo credit www.tinkoffsaxo.com

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

73 comments

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wild man [297 posts] 1 year ago
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Pr from spesh designed to remould the cracked carbon with a polymer of obfuscation. They could be a bit worried that no one will spend 8 grand on a flimsy bit of tat that' s conspiring to buck you.
I await a response from their legal team.

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IngloriousLou [139 posts] 1 year ago
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Got your tinfoil hat on?

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Chuck [534 posts] 1 year ago
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The photo of the Belkin team car above, plus the fact that the broken frame doesn't look like it's been ridden in the wet, pretty much seal the deal for me.
Don't suppose that will stop the conspiracy theorists though.

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wild man [297 posts] 1 year ago
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So they've got to you too  4

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Roberj4 [218 posts] 1 year ago
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Bertie's broken bike looks clean and unridden you would have thought the seat tube would be water splattered if it was the bike he fell from?  39

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redmeat [149 posts] 1 year ago
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Quote:

The photo was of his spare bike that was broken in a crazy team car incident, and the bike he actually crashed on survived the fall with no breakage occurring.

The photo of the broken bike has Contador's number on it and perhaps most importantly his race transponder on the chainstay. As far as I'm aware a spare bike would have neither of these things.

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surly_by_name [356 posts] 1 year ago
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Is it April Fools Day?

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redmeat [149 posts] 1 year ago
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Here's a picture of the actual spare. No number, no transponder.

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pirnie [199 posts] 1 year ago
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The only scenario that explains all the facts for me:

Contador crashes, Roche stops and gives him his bike (this is why we see Roche on the coverage stopped just before we see Contador injured and why Contador has the McLaren when he's being seen to by the docs)

Team stops by Roche and puts Contador's first bike on the car, gives Roche a new bike.

Further down the road Bertie either crashes again or realises he needs medical attention and stops.

Team rushes to help and en route tangles with the Belkin car, breaking Bertie's first bike (which explains the race number and transponder)

Team reaches Contador and gives him his spare bike, which he rides on with until abandoning.

No?

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redmeat [149 posts] 1 year ago
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pirnie wrote:

The only scenario that explains all the facts for me:

Contador crashes, Roche stops and gives him his bike (this is why we see Roche on the coverage stopped just before we see Contador injured and why Contador has the McLaren when he's being seen to by the docs)

Team stops by Roche and puts Contador's first bike on the car, gives Roche a new bike.

Further down the road Bertie either crashes again or realises he needs medical attention and stops.

Team rushes to help and en route tangles with the Belkin car, breaking Bertie's first bike (which explains the race number and transponder)

Team reaches Contador and gives him his spare bike, which he rides on with until abandoning.

No?

Or...

Contador crashes, hits something (tree/kerb whatever) which totals the frame. Roche says Contador's bike was broken at this point.

Contador pedals on for 2k on Roche's McLaren before getting his knee bandaged and receiving his actual spare bike.

He then pedals on for 18k with a broken leg before abandoning.

It's the only scenario that fits in with what Roche said happened, who was the only person there.

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pirnie [199 posts] 1 year ago
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redmeat wrote:
pirnie wrote:

The only scenario that explains all the facts for me:

Contador crashes, Roche stops and gives him his bike (this is why we see Roche on the coverage stopped just before we see Contador injured and why Contador has the McLaren when he's being seen to by the docs)

Team stops by Roche and puts Contador's first bike on the car, gives Roche a new bike.

Further down the road Bertie either crashes again or realises he needs medical attention and stops.

Team rushes to help and en route tangles with the Belkin car, breaking Bertie's first bike (which explains the race number and transponder)

Team reaches Contador and gives him his spare bike, which he rides on with until abandoning.

No?

Or...

Contador crashes, hits something (tree/kerb whatever) which totals the frame. Roche says Contador's bike was broken at this point.

Contador pedals on for 2k on Roche's McLaren before getting his knee bandaged and receiving his actual spare bike.

He then pedals on for 18k with a broken leg before abandoning.

It's the only scenario that fits in with what Roche said happened, who was the only person there.

Roche says "His bike was broken" If it wasn't for all this talk of snapped frames we'd just assume this means not rideable (handlebars turned round, buckled wheel or something). Not a broken frame.

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redmeat [149 posts] 1 year ago
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pirnie wrote:
redmeat wrote:
pirnie wrote:

The only scenario that explains all the facts for me:

Contador crashes, Roche stops and gives him his bike (this is why we see Roche on the coverage stopped just before we see Contador injured and why Contador has the McLaren when he's being seen to by the docs)

Team stops by Roche and puts Contador's first bike on the car, gives Roche a new bike.

Further down the road Bertie either crashes again or realises he needs medical attention and stops.

Team rushes to help and en route tangles with the Belkin car, breaking Bertie's first bike (which explains the race number and transponder)

Team reaches Contador and gives him his spare bike, which he rides on with until abandoning.

No?

Or...

Contador crashes, hits something (tree/kerb whatever) which totals the frame. Roche says Contador's bike was broken at this point.

Contador pedals on for 2k on Roche's McLaren before getting his knee bandaged and receiving his actual spare bike.

He then pedals on for 18k with a broken leg before abandoning.

It's the only scenario that fits in with what Roche said happened, who was the only person there.

Roche says "His bike was broken" If it wasn't for all this talk of snapped frames we'd just assume this means not rideable (handlebars turned round, buckled wheel or something). Not a broken frame.

But it could equally mean a snapped frame...

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pirnie [199 posts] 1 year ago
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redmeat wrote:
pirnie wrote:
redmeat wrote:
pirnie wrote:

The only scenario that explains all the facts for me:

Contador crashes, Roche stops and gives him his bike (this is why we see Roche on the coverage stopped just before we see Contador injured and why Contador has the McLaren when he's being seen to by the docs)

Team stops by Roche and puts Contador's first bike on the car, gives Roche a new bike.

Further down the road Bertie either crashes again or realises he needs medical attention and stops.

Team rushes to help and en route tangles with the Belkin car, breaking Bertie's first bike (which explains the race number and transponder)

Team reaches Contador and gives him his spare bike, which he rides on with until abandoning.

No?

Or...

Contador crashes, hits something (tree/kerb whatever) which totals the frame. Roche says Contador's bike was broken at this point.

Contador pedals on for 2k on Roche's McLaren before getting his knee bandaged and receiving his actual spare bike.

He then pedals on for 18k with a broken leg before abandoning.

It's the only scenario that fits in with what Roche said happened, who was the only person there.

Roche says "His bike was broken" If it wasn't for all this talk of snapped frames we'd just assume this means not rideable (handlebars turned round, buckled wheel or something). Not a broken frame.

But it could equally mean a snapped frame...

I guess we'll never know  19

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Zee [86 posts] 1 year ago
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redmeat wrote:

The photo of the broken bike has Contador's number on it and perhaps most importantly his race transponder on the chainstay. As far as I'm aware a spare bike would have neither of these things.

Hate to break it to you but there isn't a transponder on the snapped frame.

redmeat wrote:

But it could equally mean a snapped frame...

Or a broken handlebar, or a broken shifter, or a snapped derailleur, or a broken saddle.

A race leader will have at least three spare bikes split between the two cars - and it isn't difficult to put a spare race number on the second bike in order to identify it more easily amongst the spares.

So "as far as you're aware....", you're misinformed on all counts. Settle down, stop armchair commenting and let the details come out in due course.

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HoldTheWheel [21 posts] 1 year ago
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Nobody would be going on about this if it was Canyon, all the Spesh haters want the bike to have snapped in two with Contador riding it so are determined to ignore the facts which disprove their theories. The snapped frame being clean on a wet day is about all the evidence you need that it wasn't the bike Contador was riding.

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redmeat [149 posts] 1 year ago
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Zee wrote:
redmeat wrote:

The photo of the broken bike has Contador's number on it and perhaps most importantly his race transponder on the chainstay. As far as I'm aware a spare bike would have neither of these things.

Hate to break it to you but there isn't a transponder on the snapped frame.

redmeat wrote:

But it could equally mean a snapped frame...

Or a broken handlebar, or a broken shifter, or a snapped derailleur, or a broken saddle.

A race leader will have at least three spare bikes split between the two cars - and it isn't difficult to put a spare race number on the second bike in order to identify it more easily amongst the spares.

So "as far as you're aware....", you're misinformed on all counts. Settle down, stop armchair commenting and let the details come out in due course.

Yes, there is. I'm not misinformed, and you're blind.

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cub [86 posts] 1 year ago
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pirnie wrote:

The only scenario that explains all the facts for me:

Contador crashes, Roche stops and gives him his bike (this is why we see Roche on the coverage stopped just before we see Contador injured and why Contador has the McLaren when he's being seen to by the docs)

Team stops by Roche and puts Contador's first bike on the car, gives Roche a new bike.

Further down the road Bertie either crashes again or realises he needs medical attention and stops.

Team rushes to help and en route tangles with the Belkin car, breaking Bertie's first bike (which explains the race number and transponder)

Team reaches Contador and gives him his spare bike, which he rides on with until abandoning.

No?

That would make perfect sense BUT, the bike they claim Contador crashed on with the dirty handlebars has a race number and isn't broken.

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crazy-legs [730 posts] 1 year ago
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Spare bikes are set up ready to race - transponders and race numbers attached. It's also a very quick and easy way for the mechanic to identify the correct bike on the rack immediately.

As the car never crosses the finish line, the transponders never set off the detector so only that actual bike being raced gets recorded.

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Super Domestique [1596 posts] 1 year ago
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IanRCarter wrote:

Nobody would be going on about this if it was Canyon, all the Spesh haters want the bike to have snapped in two with Contador riding it so are determined to ignore the facts which disprove their theories. The snapped frame being clean on a wet day is about all the evidence you need that it wasn't the bike Contador was riding.

Hitting the nail on the head.

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redmeat [149 posts] 1 year ago
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IF Contador's spare bike had numbers and transponders (which is highly unlikely) they are the only team in the peloton doing it. The number I could just about believe but not the transponder.

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Zee [86 posts] 1 year ago
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redmeat wrote:
Zee wrote:
redmeat wrote:

The photo of the broken bike has Contador's number on it and perhaps most importantly his race transponder on the chainstay. As far as I'm aware a spare bike would have neither of these things.

Hate to break it to you but there isn't a transponder on the snapped frame.

redmeat wrote:

But it could equally mean a snapped frame...

Or a broken handlebar, or a broken shifter, or a snapped derailleur, or a broken saddle.

A race leader will have at least three spare bikes split between the two cars - and it isn't difficult to put a spare race number on the second bike in order to identify it more easily amongst the spares.

So "as far as you're aware....", you're misinformed on all counts. Settle down, stop armchair commenting and let the details come out in due course.

Yes, there is. I'm not misinformed, and you're blind.

If you insist on playing conspiracy theory, there are three rednecks who swear they made a round trip flight in 1969, that I could point you towards.

edit. thanks for finding that picture by the way. Of a broken but clean bike. Frame and chain looking pristine. Say.... almost like it's been freshly washed and placed on a roof rack rather than raced for 80k?

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ajmarshal1 [411 posts] 1 year ago
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IanRCarter wrote:

Nobody would be going on about this if it was Canyon, all the Spesh haters want the bike to have snapped in two with Contador riding it so are determined to ignore the facts which disprove their theories. The snapped frame being clean on a wet day is about all the evidence you need that it wasn't the bike Contador was riding.

There would be just as much speculation for any brand, apparent frame failure is big news. I 've found the conspiracy theorists are only trumped in the rabid posting stakes as the overly defensive 'Spesh' fanboys who are sounding like the PS4 v Xbox One loons that defend their particular product like it's their mum.

There's a photo on cycling tips of Gallopin on the final climb, his bike looks spotless. so a clean looking bike isn't really evidence.

We'll never know the full truth. Specialized mixing up their stories has put paid to that.

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ajmarshal1 [411 posts] 1 year ago
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IanRCarter wrote:

Nobody would be going on about this if it was Canyon, all the Spesh haters want the bike to have snapped in two with Contador riding it so are determined to ignore the facts which disprove their theories. The snapped frame being clean on a wet day is about all the evidence you need that it wasn't the bike Contador was riding.

There would be just as much speculation for any brand, apparent frame failure is big news. I 've found the conspiracy theorists are only trumped in the rabid posting stakes as the overly defensive 'Spesh' fanboys who are sounding like the PS4 v Xbox One loons that defend their particular product like it's their mum.

There's a photo on cycling tips of Gallopin on the final climb, his bike looks spotless. so a clean looking bike isn't really evidence.

We'll never know the full truth. Specialized mixing up their stories has put paid to that.

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Didonc [14 posts] 1 year ago
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Quote:

Alberto Contador was forced to abandon after suffering a broken leg... But if you were on Twitter, that wasn't the really big story, all attention was focused on the cause of a photo of Contador's broken Specialized Tarmac frame.

Really? Really??

Under the right conditions you can break any bike in half. I'd say a pro-level high speed descent/ditch interface is one of them. So is effectively attaching a bike to two cars and having them drive in opposite directions. Does it matter? Who cares?

Does anyone really give a s**t about his bike? The man has a broken leg! Is it right for all the closet equipment nerds/fascists to come out to air their conspiratorial ravings and obscure the fact that he's really badly hurt?

Good luck to him, I hope he has a speedy recovery. Never mind the insane heroics of getting back on a bike and attempting to ride it with a broken leg.

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redmeat [149 posts] 1 year ago
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Zee wrote:
redmeat wrote:
Zee wrote:
redmeat wrote:

The photo of the broken bike has Contador's number on it and perhaps most importantly his race transponder on the chainstay. As far as I'm aware a spare bike would have neither of these things.

Hate to break it to you but there isn't a transponder on the snapped frame.

redmeat wrote:

But it could equally mean a snapped frame...

Or a broken handlebar, or a broken shifter, or a snapped derailleur, or a broken saddle.

A race leader will have at least three spare bikes split between the two cars - and it isn't difficult to put a spare race number on the second bike in order to identify it more easily amongst the spares.

So "as far as you're aware....", you're misinformed on all counts. Settle down, stop armchair commenting and let the details come out in due course.

Yes, there is. I'm not misinformed, and you're blind.

If you insist on playing conspiracy theory, there are three rednecks who swear they made a round trip flight in 1969, that I could point you towards.

Ad hominem much?

You can see the transponder now I take it?

For the record I'm not suggesting that the frame failed causing the crash - as I said before I think the frame was totaled when it hit something, possibly a tree or whatever, as it slid down the road.

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redmeat [149 posts] 1 year ago
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Quote:

edit. thanks for finding that picture by the way. Of a broken but clean bike. Frame and chain looking pristine. Say.... almost like it's been freshly washed and placed on a roof rack rather than raced for 80k?

A broken and clean bike with number and transponder. Yeah, ok.

Here's the previously mentioned pic of Gallopin on the final climb, another 100k into the race. His bike doesn't look dirty either.

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dwbeever [51 posts] 1 year ago
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i'm no fan of sinyards tactics, but this is bogus.

all i will say, is contador's personal mechanic faustino muñoz builds all of his race machines with nokon cables. therefore, this is not his machine, or indeed a spare of his!

someone has got "creative"....

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goggy [153 posts] 1 year ago
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With all these spare bikes, do you think they could spare me a set of those nice ZIPP wheels?  39

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goggy [153 posts] 1 year ago
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Didonc wrote:
Quote:

Alberto Contador was forced to abandon after suffering a broken leg... But if you were on Twitter, that wasn't the really big story, all attention was focused on the cause of a photo of Contador's broken Specialized Tarmac frame.

Really? Really??

Under the right conditions you can break any bike in half. I'd say a pro-level high speed descent/ditch interface is one of them. So is effectively attaching a bike to two cars and having them drive in opposite directions. Does it matter? Who cares?

Does anyone really give a s**t about his bike? The man has a broken leg! Is it right for all the closet equipment nerds/fascists to come out to air their conspiratorial ravings and obscure the fact that he's really badly hurt?

Good luck to him, I hope he has a speedy recovery. Never mind the insane heroics of getting back on a bike and attempting to ride it with a broken leg.

The guy rode HOW far with a broken/cracked leg? That's superhuman...

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RobD [287 posts] 1 year ago
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Maybe the alien tractor beam that was pulling him along failed?

The only thing I'm surprised by in all the conspiracy theorising going on is that nobody has started complaining how much more dangerous this would be with disk brakes? Surely with how dangerous these apparently are in a crash he'd have lost the leg?
I'm not a fan of Bertie's at all, in fact ever since the 'tainted steak' issues I've liked him less, but he's a bloody hero for cycling 18k with a broken leg (and probably still a damn sight quicker than any of us could ride it intact)

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