Tour de France: Fractured hand for Samuel Sánchez but collarbone appears unbroken
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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tour de France: Fractured hand for Samuel Sánchez but collarbone appears unbroken

by Ben Atkins at 3:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
Olympic champion may still defend title but recovery is the first priority

samuel sanchezAs Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) hit the tarmac in a seemingly innocuous crash in the first half of today’s eighth stage of the Tour de France, between Belfort and Porrentruy, Switzerland, many feared the worst. The Olympic champion lay on the road for some time, as his feet were elevated by his team staff, and when he finally did sit up he was holding his left shoulder in the familiar fashion of a rider that has fractured his collarbone.

The leader of the “naranjas” left the race by ambulance but, having been examined at the hospital in Belfort, his condition may not be as serious as first thought. Sánchez has sustained a fracture to the third metacarpal of his left hand and what has been described as a “severe contusion” to his left collarbone; he will be subject to further examination in this area, but if it is not fractured then his participation in the Olympic Games at the end of the month may not be out of the question.

For now though, the Beijing 2008 champion refuses to speculate on his next race, but is primarily concerned with his condition.

“What I want now is to know the exact extent of the injuries,” he said. “Health comes first, then we'll talk about schedules, competitions... I look to the future with optimism, so the first thing is to know the exact extent of the lesions. Once you know, start working on the recovery as soon as possible.

Sánchez’ has been on the rise ever since winning that gold medal in Beijing, with second place in the 2009 Vuelta a España followed by third in the 2010 Tour. Last year he could not quite match his podium finish, but won the prestigious stage to Luz-Ardiden and took home the polka-dot mountains jersey.

This year however, his luck appears to have deserted him.

"I’ve broken something for the first time in my career,” he said. “I’ve often hit the ground, but I had never done myself much harm. I don’t remember the fall very well; there was a slowdown and I braked too, but I noticed that someone rammed me from behind and I went flying. I took a good hit and then I also noticed that someone fell on me. I tried to get up quickly, but I was dizzy and I had to lie down again. Then I realised that I could not continue.
“For the first time in a long time I cried, it was a very tough situation,” he continued. “I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to get it to this race, and having to leave it like this hurts. I am sorry for my teammates, who have done to much to help me and I imagine will be disappointed; but they are great professionals and I am sure you will see them in this Tour.
"What remains now is to absorb what happened,” he concluded. “I said yesterday that it is important not to fall... Despite losing a minute in the day yesterday, both the team and I were relaxed. We knew it was a long Tour, with the two time trials, the Alps and Pyrénées there was a lot of race to come and was finding my rhythm.

“Today's stage I liked, but the way things are I don’t want to look back but forward, take it all in and learn. When all goes well you don’t get many lessons, but when these things happen, you have to learn.”


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