• Contador shows the damage to his right side after crashing in Stage 17 (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Alberto Contador’s Tour de France is as good as over after a crash during an action-packed Stage 17 left him a further 2min 14sec behind in the race for the yellow jersey.
Cycling Central

23 Jul 2015 - 7:08 AM  UPDATED 23 Jul 2015 - 10:49 AM

The Tinkoff-Saxo leader fell during the descent of the Col d’Allos and had to go through two bike changes thereafter, one with green jersey holder Peter Sagan, before crossing the finish line 9min 33sec behind winner Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin), and a bunch of grazes on his right side.


VIDEO - Sagan and Rogers trying to help Contador after crash

VIDEO - Sagan and Rogers trying to help Contador after crash(video by Tom Lagerberg, NOS.nl)

Posted by Peter SagFan - non official on Wednesday, 22 July 2015


Stage 17 report

“My wheel slipped and I fell. We tried to fix my bike but it wasn’t working and I took Peter’s (Sagan) bike,” Contador said.

“I tried to descend as well as I could but at the bottom of the climb I had to change back to one of my own bikes to minimize the losses.

“Cycling is like this; sometimes you do well, sometimes you don’t. But right now the most important thing is to recover.”

With a 6min 40sec defecit in the overall standings to leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) Contador can probably kiss goodbye to his hopes of an historic Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double, a feat not completed since 1998 when Italian Marco Pantani won both.

Another faller on the same descent was Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), who lost control of his bike on a downhill corner, introducing his face to the tarmac as the leaders sped away from him.

Tinkoff-Saxo looked to have a solid strategy before Contador’s crash, deploying Rafal Majka and Peter Sagan in the breakaway, while Michael Rogers went on the attack later on the stage in an effort to support Contador through the final kilometres.

Head sports director Steven de Jongh was left frustrated, though, when Contador tumbled and the plan to chew some time off Froome’s lead came crashing down with him.

“Alberto hit a hole and suffered a crash at high speed. It’s very unfortunate, as we tried hard and succeeded in setting up a promising strategy,” de Jongh said.

“We wanted at least one guy in the break and ultimately we had Majka, Sagan and Rogers, who were all ready to support Alberto. What happened happened, and we will see how Alberto is, when he wakes up tomorrow. It normally has an impact on the body, when you crash at high speed.”

The bad luck continued for Tinkoff-Saxo after Contador’s crash, as a malfunctioning radio meant that Majka did not know that his team leader had crashed behind him.

“The crash was unfortunate and moreover it was unfortunate that Rafal’s radio didn’t work, either due to bad reception or the water he had poured on himself,” de Jongh added.

“Tristan Hoffman had stopped to assist Alberto with a new bike, so Rafal was up the road without knowing that Alberto crashed. He continued at a slow pace up the climb to Pra Loup and he was obviously very frustrated afterwards that he hadn’t been able to assist.”

Australian Rogers, who had been waiting for Contador on the summit of d’Allos, also expressed frustration at the day’s events.

“We made a move and sent two guys out in the break and then I made a move, a bit far out. The idea was to have a group of guys waiting for Alberto on the top of the penultimate climb,” he explained.

“It worked out perfectly. We had Peter, Alberto and then myself, in that select group with Rafal further ahead. Unfortunately, Alberto slipped in one of the corners. There were a lot of bumps and his front wheel slipped and before we knew it he was on the ground.

“In the end, we were there and able to send him off on his way again. It was a very nervous moment and indeed a shame, I think Alberto was motivated today.”

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