David Moncoutié (Cofidis) brought the curtain down on his Tour de France career in sorry circumstances on Friday, when a crash on stage 12 forced him to abandon the race. It was the 37-year-old’s 11th and final Tour appearance, and it was the first time that he had ever abandoned a grand tour.
Moncoutié fell heavily on the descent of the Col du Grand-Cucheron, and although he sustained no broken bones, he suffered heavy contusions to his left side and required stitches to an injury on his right elbow.
“I overshot a corner on the descent and I wasn’t able to change my line as there was a lot of gravel and it was fast,” Moncoutié told L’Équipe. “After the crash, I thought about the fact that it was my last Tour.”
13th overall in the 2002 Tour and a stage winner at Figeac in 2004 and Digne-les-Bains in 2005, Moncoutié is set to retire at the end of this season and he was disappointed to miss out on racing on the Champs-Élysées one final time.
“It’s the first time I’ve abandoned a Grand Tour and it hurts to quit the most beautiful race in the world,” he said. “I’m a bit dejected, I thought I’d get to Paris, I was getting back into good condition. It’s sad, but that’s cycling.”
Moncoutié was optimistic about his chances of recovering from his injuries in time for the Vuelta a España, which gets underway on August 18. In the twilight of his career, Moncoutié has put together a fine sequence at the Spanish race, winning a stage and the mountains classification in each of the past four editions of the race.