Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) crashed hard in the last three kilometres of Saturday’s stage of the Volta a Catalunya, suffering a large amount of road rash on his left side. He was able to complete the stage and remains in third place overall, seven seconds down on Richie Porte (Team Sky). Despite his injuries, Contador is expected to start the final stage around Barcelona on Sunday.
According to initial reports, Contador went down less than three kilometres from the finish at Port Aventura theme park as the peloton rode in pursuit a large break. As the riders went through a roundabout the Tinkoff-Saxo leader was hit from behind by another rider and went down hard on his left side.
An initial assessment of the rider’s injuries indicated that the crash had caused him to lose a lot of skin on his left shoulder and lower back, as well as suffering a very minor injury on his left knee. Contador was not expected to go to hospital for a further check-up and is being treated by the Tinkoff-Saxo team doctor at the race.
Contador lost a lot of time picking himself up, getting back on his bike and riding to the finish. He initially disappeared from the race’s provisional general classification on Spanish television. However subject to final confirmation from the race judges, he will retain his third place overall, seven seconds behind race leader Richie Porte, because the crash occurred inside the final three kilometres of the stage.
Contador’s crash ended a bad day for Tinkoff-Saxo at the Volta a Catalunya. Jesus Hernandez and Ivan Basso both abandoned due to illness before the stage, leaving the team with just four riders.
The 194 kilometre stage from Cervera to Port Aventura was won by Russia’s Sergei Chernetski (Katusha) after 21 riders broke away early on. The final stage is a 126.6km circuit stage around Montjuic.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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