Contador breaks shin in crash to end Tour hopes

Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:37pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

LA PLANCHE DES BELLES FILLES France (Reuters) - Double Tour de France winner Alberto Contador broke a shinbone after a heavy crash but got back on his bike and pedaled for 15 kilometers before being forced to pull out of the race on Monday.

The Spaniard, blood also dripping from his knee, spent several minutes being treated by race doctors during the 10th Stage.

His Tinkoff-Saxo manager Bjarne Riis told reporters that Contador, who was hoping to win his third Tour after victories in 2007 and 2009, suffered a broken shinbone and would undergo surgery.

The organizers' medical statement confirmed the nature of the injury, adding that he also suffered an elbow problem.

There was no TV footage of the accident, but Vincenzo Nibali, on his way to a solo victory in Monday's stage to reclaim the yellow jersey, witnessed it first hand.

"It happened in a descent, the asphalt was not in good condition. He was behind me but then passed me and three seconds later he fell off in front of me. It was spectacular, we were around 60 kph," the Italian champion said.

"I was just behind and for a moment I thought my Tour could be over too."

After being treated by doctors, Contador got back on his bike but after climbing the category-one Col du Platzerwasel with the help of his Tinkoff-Saxo team mates, he dismounted and stepped into his team car. The peloton, led by his main rival Nibali's Astana team, was already some four minutes ahead.   Continued...

Tinkoff-Saxo team rider Alberto Contador of Spain crosses of the 161-km (100 miles) eighth stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Tomblaine and Gerardmer La Mauselaine, July 12, 2014.     REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen