On stage 1 he slipped out in a corner and went down hard but avoided serious injury and any time losses. He again picked himself up after his mid-stage crash on stage 2 but his injuries cost him dearly this time. He struggled to hold the wheels as the peloton surged up the climb to the finish above Cherbourg and lost 48 seconds to big rivals such as Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana.
Up front, teammate Peter Sagan won the sprint and took the race leader's yellow jersey but it was of little consolation for Contador. He finished the race disappointed and slipped to 62nd place in the general classification.
"I suffered another crash; I hit the handlebars and I was hurt on the other side from yesterday," Contador explained briefly at the Tinkoff team bus before heading to is hotel.
An on-bike video captured the moment of Contador's crash and of several riders falling on top of him. He explained that Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) had lost control of his bike as they rode over a speed bump designed to slow vehicles.
"Tony Martin, went down right in front of me. He lost hands off the handlebars and I landed on the floor," Contador said.
Initial reports indicated that Contador crashed on the same right side that he injured during stage 1. Then he said he'd suffered road rash from his knee to his shoulder. Contador explained that this time he had crashed on his left side.
A blow to his morale
Contador is known as a fighter but admitted that two crashes in two days had been a blow to his morale. His Tour de France has become an uphill challenge even on the flat roads of northern France.
"You need to be mentally strong to overcome a Tour start as bad as this one, especially after so much hard work," he said.
"But cycling is like that. I'll have to try to be strong and not lose confidence. I have to think that it will be possible to recover when I get to my terrain (the mountains). I tried to minimize my losses but I gave away some time in only two days of racing.
"I can't be downbeat but my morale is not intact. I want to fight on, otherwise I'd be keen to get out of here. The time loss is worse than the body blows."
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