Valverde crashes out of Tour de France

Izagirre also out after spill in rain-soaked time trial

Nairo Quintana lost a key Movistar teammate in the opening stage of the Tour de France, as Alejandro Valverde crashed in a slick corner of the rain-soaked time trial course in Düsseldorf.

The 37-year-old Spaniard did not finish the stage, and was taken to hospital for examinations. His team said on NBC Sports that Valverde's kneecap seemed to be broken, and that the crash against the metal barricades caused a deep gash in his leg, and the wound would have to be closed before he could undergo x-rays to determine the extent of the injury to his lower leg.

"The most difficult thing is [the kneecap seems] to be broken, and then because of the crash against the wall, there is a deep cut in the leg," the Movistar team representative told NBC.

"There was a lot of blood, and they have to clean out the area before doing the x-ray to see if both bones are broken or not. It seems that the knee has a terrible injury."

The team later confirmed the kneecap fracture and revealed via a press release that he had sustained a broken talus bone as well.

Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) also went down in the same corner as Valverde, and similarly abandoned the race, putting paid to his team's GC ambitions. Numerous other riders also crashed and slid out due to the wet roads and corners on the city centre course.

Those who crashed included Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal), Luke Durbridge (Orica-Scott), Nicolas Roche (BMC), expected favourite Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) and his teammates George Bennett and Dylan Groenewegen. 

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