It was just before 4pm when Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador waved to his Tinkoff-Saxo teammates, brought his bike to a standstill, and got into a team car. His retirement from the 101st Tour de France, due to a heavy fall on Monday’s stage, comes just five days after the retirement – also due to a fall – of the favorite to win this year’s race, Chris Froome.
The cyclist, who is from Pinto, Madrid, had hit the deck just a few kilometers before, as he descended in the midst of the peloton after the first climb of the day on stage 10. The peloton was in pursuit of a dangerous breakaway, which included Polish rider Kwiatkoswki, guided by his teammate Tony Martin.
On the roadside, a medical team cleaned and bandaged the bleeding right knee of Contador, who would later complain about his right wrist too. After changing his shoes and bike, Contador returned to the race five minutes later. He tried to continue, but soon realized it was useless to try, and was forced to retire.
With the retirement of the double-Tour champion, Spanish hopes will now be pinned on Alejandro Valverde, who will be trying to make it onto the podium in Paris.