Contador escapes serious injury in Tour de France crash, pleased not to lose time
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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Contador escapes serious injury in Tour de France crash, pleased not to lose time

by Shane Stokes at 4:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
 
“These are the typical first-day jitters…at least we are all on the same time”

Alberto ContadorMany riders were held up by the crash on today’s opening stage of the Tour de France, but the sight of GC contender Alberto Contador trailing in after the main bunch quickened the pulse of his fans and those who want to see a big overall battle in the Tour.

Appearing to be hurt after falling in the finale, there was a nervous wait for some afterwards, but eventually confirmation came through that he would be able to continue.

“It was a difficult day, but this is the Tour de France. Sometimes you are caught up in crashes and sometimes not. It is a lottery, you do not know whether it will happen, if on the left or on the right,” he said afterwards. “I have had bad luck but I hope it's nothing serious.”

Contador was speaking after having his wounds assessed on the team bus. He said that he was cut on both sides of his body, but that the injuries appeared superficial. Sometimes it takes time for the extent of such issues to become clear, but he hopes that things don’t develop overnight.

“I don’t think so,” he said, when asked if he believed it was possible that he had suffered any fractures. “I have a sharp blow on the left shoulder and right knee, but I hope that’s it. Now I'll be uncomfortable on the bike, but I remain in the Tour.

“It's time to use a lot of ice and to recover in the following stages for the team time trial, to see if I have no problem to put my elbows on the handlebars.”

The fall appeared to happen when the sprinters were jostling for position, their urgency heighted by uncertainty about where the finish line was located. The Orica GreenEdge team bus became jammed under the finishing gantry and race organisers initially moved the finish line to three kilometres earlier, prior to revising that when the bus was moved.

Many of the riders were told about the changes over race radio and while some like stage winner Marcel Kittel were unaware, others received the communications and became concerned about the modifications.

“We all want to be in front,” Contador reasoned afterwards, declining to blame anyone in particular. “I think someone from behind crashed into me. If not, I might have escaped. Sometimes one person is caught up, other times it is someone else.

He said that he was delayed getting moving again as he broke his shoe and had to wait for a change.

While no rider wants to fall, Contador said that he accepts that it can sometimes be inevitable. “These are the typical first-day jitters, everybody looking to not waste time,” he said. “At least, we're all in the same time, unlike the last time in the Tour, and I feel very supported by a very strong team. I'm happy with all that support. The Tour is the Tour and you never know where a crash might happen.”

His goal now is simple: to get a good night’s sleep, to heal up as well as he can and to continue safely tomorrow.

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