Vuelta a Espana: Samuel Sanchez forced to abandon after time trial crash

Updated: Sanchez drops out of race, hopes for return to competition in October

Samuel Sanchez's hopes for a top 10 finish at the 2016 Vuelta a Espana came crashing down Friday in the closing kilometres of the stage 19 time trial in Calpe after the former Olympic gold medalist hit the deck when he lost control of his bike as he navigated a corner on a narrow road with 7km to go.

Sanchez (BMC Racing) was able to remount a new bike and complete the 37km race against the clock, but his team said Friday he will not be able to continue.

"Samuel was taken immediately to the Hospital Marina Baixa Villajoyosa after his crash where they performed a number of X-Rays and tests to determine his injuries," team doctor Daniele Zaccaria said. "Given the heavy impact of the crash he is lucky to have not broken any bones. His main injury is the acromioclavicular joint dislocation of his right shoulder, but he also has a large contusion and is unable to walk properly. He underwent a head CT scan as he was experiencing some dizziness but was cleared of any concussion."

Sanchez started the day seventh overall, 8:12 down on overall leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar), but he finished Friday's time trial in 95th place, more than six minutes down on winner Chris Froome (Team Sky), and dropped to 12th overall.

Team Director Valeria Piva described Sanchez's crash in a statement published on the team's website.

"We arrived at more or less 7km to the finish, where the road was narrow and divided in two," Piva said. "It was not possible to go on the other side and out of the corner he was really fast and the bike slid out. He crashed very fast, so I saw immediately that it was a very bad crash.

"The bike was destroyed so we gave him a new bike, but it was clear that he was not able to continue. He finished the stage but I am really scared that tomorrow he cannot start. Maybe the Vuelta is finished here for us. All of the nice days that we had until now finish like that. But OK, that is the sport, that is cycling and I hope that it is nothing bad for him. It was a bad day for us.”

Sanchez said he was in the middle of a good ride and expected to move up some GC positions when the crash occurred.

"Right now the physical pain is nothing compared to my soul," he said in a statement realised by the team. "I am only two days from the final and we did a big sacrifice to be here fighting with the best riders. I know this is sport and cycling but it's hard to accept it now. The important thing is I haven't broken anything even if my right shoulder is dislocated. I hope to recover fast and give my best in this final of season in the Italian races in October."

Zaccaria said Sanchez will need at least a week off the bike.

"Samuel will require at least a week off the bike, following which he will ride on the rollers before returning to the road. We will continue to monitor his recovery and hopefully he will be able to race at the beginning of October."

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