• Contador hits the deck again! (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Just days after an unmarked bollard ended Steven Kruijswijk's (Lotto NL-Jumbo) Vuelta a Espana there has been more avoidable carnage at the Spanish Grand Tour as Rein Taaramae (Katusha) was cleaned up by the Cofidis team car and Alberto Contador fell in the final 500 metres of the stage.
Cycling Central

27 Aug 2016 - 12:02 PM 

Alberto Contador was the biggest name to hit the deck during Stage 7 of the Vuelta a Espana being brought down in a chain reaction as Gedimindas Bagdonas (AG2R-La Mondiale) dived up the inside of the final 90-degree turn, shunting Tosh van der Sande (Lotto Soudal) into Contador who hit the tarmac at high speed.

“With 800m to go I was very well positioned so I told Benna to go for the sprint," said Contador after the stage. "With 400m to go on a left corner I was hit by someone that likes braking a lot and crashed on my left side.

"I took a big hit on my calf and my quad, and in general I have extensive superficial wounds on the entire left side of my body. It hurts a lot but it seems that there’s nothing broken.

"We have a long transfer to the hotel of 120 kilometres now. I will rest for the night and tomorrow morning we will assess my situation.”

Unfortunately crashing has become a habit for the Spanish grand tour champion, exiting this year's Tour de France after two crashes and now coming down hard again on his side is unlikely to see him in a good mood ahead of a summit finish to the next stage.

“As far as we know it’s just cuts and bruises," explained Sport Director Sean Yates after the finish, "but he came down pretty hard and we’ll know more after he gets further checks.”

“It looked like he got squeezed on the corner, he’s been caught out this season by being too far back, and today he was right up the front and still was involved, so it’s real bad luck.

"For Alberto, we will know more later, it’s not ideal timing with three tough stages coming up, so we keep our fingers crossed.”

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Contador wasn't the only rider caught up in crashes with Rein Taaramae (Katusha) incredibly lucky that he didn't sustain very serious injuries from a collision with the Cofidis team car that saw his bike smashed to pieces.

Taaramäe, who has been in good form this year, taking a stage win in the Giro d'Italia, said he's not entirely sure what happened.

"I was dropped in the group and was riding alone," said the Estonian. "In one moment I found myself on the side of the road and I understood that a car hit me from the back.

"I think I’m lucky that nothing is broken. My bike was broken in probably five, six pieces. When I saw that, I realised I was really lucky. Later that director spoke to me and said it was his fault but was unsure what had happened, too. He was very sorry."

Taaramae was hit by the Cofidis team car, a team that he rode for in the past, taking 11th on GC at the 2011 Tour de France for the team and winning a stage of the Vuelta a Espana in the same year. 

Katusha team director Jose Azevedo gave a more detailed account of the crash which saw Taaramae pull out of the race.

"Rein was dropped on the hill and the cars were passing him – he was in the middle of the cars," said Azevedo. "I think he didn’t see the Cofidis car.

"Sometimes this happens where you look to one side and can’t see anything, but I think the car came and he could not avoid it so he was hit from behind.

"He flew off the bike to the right side of the road and this was a lucky thing because he was safe, but the car hit his bike and destroyed it completely. It was in a lot of pieces.

"Of course it was not on purpose, it was just something that happens in a race. He only has small injuries, but it was impossible for him to continue.

"I think he was initially in shock and these last days he’s been having some stomach problems. He was suffering to finish today and then this crash, so it needed to be over for him."

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