Sanchez’s Olympic defence seems over as he crashes out of Tour de France
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Sunday, July 08, 2012

Sanchez’s Olympic defence seems over as he crashes out of Tour de France

by Shane Stokes at 10:26 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
 
Initial reports of fractured collarbone and hand for 2008 Olympic champ

Samuel SanchezOlympic champion and last year’s King of the Mountains Samuel Sanchez looks doubtful for London 2012 after crashing heavily during today’s eighth stage of the Tour and being forced to pull out.

He and compatriot Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) hit the ground approximately 56 kilometres into today’s stage, with the Euskaltel Euskadi rider coming off much worse. While Valverde was able to remount and to make his way back to the peloton, Sanchez remained on the ground and was eventually stretchered away.

Initial reports from the race said that he had broken a collarbone and possibly also a bone in his left hand. He will undergo further examinations to determine the precise cause of his injuries.

Third overall in the race two years ago, Sanchez won the stage to Luz Ardiden last year and also took the polka dot jersey to Paris. He didn’t climb as expected yesterday, finishing a minute and 31 seconds back in sixteenth place, and started today’s stage twelfth overall. His hopes that he would improve in the days ahead have come to nothing, and he heads home two weeks early.

In addition to the disappointment of withdrawing from the Tour, Sanchez also will be downbeat about the Olympic Games. The nature of his injury means that he’s almost certain to miss the race. Indeed the Olympic team itself has been decimated, with Oscar Freire’s broken rib and punctured lung expected to keep him out of cycling for a month, thus missing London. Another rider who was set to be on the team, Jose Joaquin Rojas, crashed out on the third stage of the Tour and suffered a broken collarbone.

At 34 years of age, the London Games could have been Sanchez’s farewell Olympics; now he’ll have to come up with an alternative racing programme for the remainder of the season, with the Vuelta a España and the world championships two possible goals.

Alberto Contador said that he was disappointed for his fellow Spaniard. “Sad after Samuel Sanchez's abandon at Tour, he has worked a lot for this race,” he said via Twitter. “This is cycling...”

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