Alberto Contador is the latest victim of what is turning out to be one of the most brutal Tour de France years we’ve known for a while. We were horrified to hear that Mark Cavendish had borked his shoulder, we sighed with sad disappointment when Chris Froome was forced to bailout before the cobblestone sections of the Paris-Roubaix stage. Now we’re feeling bad for yet another fella what could have won Le Tour has had to go home.
During stage 10 Contador licked tarmac not once, but twice during the descent of Petit Ballon and despite looking in a very sorry state indeed he was given a fresh bike by his team. Getting back onto the bike was clearly proving almost impossible, but eventually with a bit of help Alberto set off in search of his team mates. During the Tour de France (and most professional races) riders are very specifically forbidden to go back in search of fallen comrades, so it was up to Contador to catch his team mates so they could coach him back to the Peloton.
Remarkably Contador managed to make it up the next first category climb, but after descending the Col du Platzerwasel he was forced to abandon the race. An x-ray back at HQ revealed a fractured tibia (shin bone), which not only shows that Contador is probably a lot harder than anyone gives him credit for, but also raises a few questions about why his team let him continue when Team Sky had the sense to talk Froome into the team car before the damage could be made worse.
There is no official explanation for how Contador crashed, the television cameras missed both falls, but we dare say speculation will run riot when members of the peloton sit down to supper tonight.