A serious crash in the final 15 kilometres of stage 16 of the Vuelta a España cost Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) over 11 minutes, shattering any hopes the Spaniard may have still had of a high overall finish in Madrid.
Flanked by teammates Alberto Losada Alguacil, Juan Horrach Rippoll and Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Rodriguez was a sorry sight at the finish in Haro, as he nursed an apparent fractured arm. He missed the podium presentation as well as media obligations to go directly to the local hospital in Lograño for treatment and scans.
"He’s got a bad injury on a shoulder and one of his arms is very painful," Horrach reported at the end of the stage. "We hope that nothing is broken and that he’ll be all right tomorrow. He’s important for the spectacle."
Though he has been diagnosed with 'contusions to the lumbar region of his back, as well as minor damage to a ligament in his wrist', the good news for the Rodriguez is that he has been cleared of any breaks, and will be able to start tomorrow's stage to Peña Cabarga.
Rodriguez, was a pre-race favourite to take the red jersey in Madrid, however after conceding 5:24 in the time trial in Salamanca, and more time today he now sits in 24th overall, more than 16 minutes behind race leader Juan Jose Cobo.
The Spaniard still leads the points classification, though with only one more uphill finish to go in this year's race, Peter Sagan currently 15 points behind Rodriguez, may have the edge.