Trek Factory Racing's Andy Schleck rode to his team bus clearly in pain after a crash on the streets of central London during the third stage of the Tour de France. He tried to down play his injuries, and a loss of minute on the overall classification for him and his brother Fränk.
Schleck hit the deck 27km from the finish, close to the Olympic Park that hosted the 2012 Olympic Games. He went down on his right side and seemed to have hurt his right knee, and collected a lot of road rash. However, he seemed determined and able to continue in the Tour de France.
"Shit happens. I was really unlucky. It wasn't even raining at the moment of the crash," he said, with his anger seemingly aimed at himself as much as the rider who went down in front of him.
"I guess it was my won fault. I was behind and a guy who moved from the left to the right and I went into his back wheel. I couldn't really avoid him and so hit the ground at quite a high speed. The roads were rough and so I lost quite a bit of skin. I landed on my arm, my hip, my ribs and my knee a bit. I can't bend my knee at the moment but I hope I'll be okay."
Nothing is lost
Schleck has tried to battle through two troubled seasons, where he has rarely performed to the level he once showed in his career, and came into the Tour with low expectations and a role as a domestique for his brother Fränk and Haimar Zubeldia.
He impressed on the tough stage to Sheffield on Sunday but lost a minute due to his crash on Monday and late splits in the peloton. He is now 56th overall, 2:01 behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). Fränk also lost a minute and slipped to 44th at 1:21 minutes back.
"There's nothing lost," Andy insisted before heading to the airport for the flight transfer to France.
"It was dangerous out there, especially when it rained. I saw that two guys from Cofidis crashed later on and so gaps opened in the peloton. Normally inside the three-kilometre point, they give the same time. I don’t think it's the case today because guys sat up even with five kilometres to go."
"We lost a minute but it's not the end of the world. The Tour has only just begun. Everything can change on the climbs."