Basque refuses to rule out chances of Olympic ride
Just a few hours after abandoning the Tour de France, Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has announced that he has no intention of abandoning his Olympic dream.
Sanchez' injuries are serious but not as bad as initially feared. He has a broken fingerbone, a badly bruised upper back and shoulderblade - but not, as was first suspected, a broken collarbone.
"I'm more worried about my upper shoulder than about my finger," Sánchez told Basque newspaper Deia as soon as he left the hospital in eastern France - where the 2011 King of the Mountains and stage winner at Luz Ardiden had been taken after crashing out after 60 kilometres of racing on stage eight - on Sunday afternoon.
"At the moment it's bandaged up, but I'm worried about the muscle ligaments. Until we do a scan I won't be able to tell."
Sánchez says that although he cried after he abandoned, he is now fully focussed on making a fast recovery. And that London 2012 remains a key objective.
"The first priority is my health. I have to see what my condition is really like and evaluate things after that. As for the Games, I have to talk to the Spanish national coach. Obviously his opinion matters a lot, too."
Sánchez says he only has blurry recollections of the accident, that everybody braked hard, that he was pushed from behind and that he went over the top of the bars. After that, he lost consciousness.
"As soon as I hit the ground I knew it was over. I didn't even try to continue. Cyclists know when they've done themselves some serious damage.
"I cried in the ambulance, and I cried a lot, but that was because I knew what I could have done in this year's Tour," he said, "even though I lost some time on Saturday's stage, I could tell I was getting better and better.
"If you are going like crap and have an injury, well that's it, you abandon and move on, but I knew I was going well.
"For me, even though Friday was a bad day for the team [Euskaltel-Euskadi], because we lost Mikel [Astarloza] and Amets [Txurruka] and - to all intents and purposes - Gorka [Verdugo] too, Saturday was a good day for me on a personal level.
"Afterwards, though, I knew that I just have to move forwards and do what I can in the future.
"I've been a pro for 13 years now and that makes you realise that things sometimes happen just as they want to, and you can't do anything to avoid them.
"In all that time, I've never broken a single bone in my body in my entire career and some time had to be the first. And it's not so bad, as far as I can see it's just my hand, although my back hurts and we'll have to do some more scans. But I can't let myself go under because of this."
He says he was particularly moved by some riders' interest in his health. Ivan Basso called him up on his mobile as soon as the stage had finished, to see if he was ok. "That's the nice side of this sport," Sánchez concluded.