Following Alberto Contador’s exit from this year’s Tour de France there have been questions asked about what exactly happened that caused him to crash. Whenever a rider crashes out there is a mix of sympathy and commiseration from riders who have been in the same situation themselves before. With Contador’s sudden crash-related retirement yesterday his peers appear to be neither surprised nor sympathetic.
Reports from the peloton point the finger of blame for the first crash quite squarely at Contador himself, most rumours confirm that he was taking a big risk trying to get past Jurgen Van Den Broeck when he went down at the front of the group. Crashing at the front of a field is never going to make you the most popular man on two wheels, but Van Den Broeck himself is being very public about his feelings on the matter:
“Apparently he felt the need to overtake me. It was in his typical style, standing on the pedals. He hits a pothole and goes over the handlebars. His head was next to my front wheel. He could’ve taken me with him. I can’t understand why you take that many risks to move up one spot” Van Den Broeck said after the race.
Jens Keukeleire also had something to say when asked about the crash by the fine folk at Cycling News;
“According to me, he was moving up during the descent. That didn’t seem necessary to me because we were already quite near the front. I didn’t see exactly what caused the crash but I saw him crashing. He touched the ground a couple of times really hard. Eventually, he ended up at the side of the road. At first I thought he would not get back up. It was a big hit. We were going really fast,”
The second crash apparently happened when Contador was aggressively moving forward through the group surrounded by his team.
Television footage of the aftermath of the crash focussed on a bike with broken frame laying on the road, causing speculation that a mechanical failure may have contributed to the crash. Speculation that Tinkoff-Saxo official bike supplier Specialized were very quick to extinguish. Rumours point to the broken bike being one of Contador’s spares, which makes us wonder what the hell happened to it to sever the frame? A question I very much doubt we’ll ever get an answer to.