Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-QuickStep) has expressed his regret at Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling) abandoning the Tour de France, but insisted the movement that led to the Colombian crashing on stage 15 was “part of the sport”.
The Luxembourg rider also fell on Sunday after being hit by a race ambulance later in the stage.
Jungels was attempting to form a breakaway on Sunday when he swung off the front of the leading group and took out Higuita’s front wheel. Higuita got back on his bike but crashed again shortly after while trying to get back to the peloton and was forced to abandon the race in tears with a suspected broken hand.
“We were fighting for the break, I was on the front, and at one point I wanted to pass the turn on to Sergio. Without knowing, he was on my right, and other people told me he was looking back at that point, and there you go. Crashes like that are always unfortunate but that’s part of the sport,” Jungels said at the finish on the Grand Colombier.
“I was swinging off to the right after an attack. I didn’t see him on my right side. Unfortunately, I must have hit his front wheel, and yeah, I’m really sorry to hear he’s out of the race because of that crash. I don’t know what to say.”
EF Pro Cycling managed Jonathan Vaughters had tweeted to say he wasn’t happy with Jungels, but the rider himself didn’t feel he was at fault, even if he deeply regretted the consequences of the collision.
“Swinging off to make another rider come to the front is something we usually do,” he said. “I didn’t see him on my right side and I’m just really sorry if there’s anything I’ve done wrong. It’s very unfortunate.
“I really feel bad for him. I spoke to his teammates afterwards, I didn’t even know if it was my fault or not, but I just said sorry to his teammates. I spoke to [Rigoberto] Uran and [Jens] Keukeleire. There’s not much I can do at the end of the day but I’m really sorry for what happened.”
Jungels hit the ground later in the stage in a collision with a race ambulance, but he was able to get back on his bike and finish the stage in 43rd place.
“An ambulance was coming from behind and ran me over,” he said. “It was bad luck. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Higuita vliegt hard tegen de grond pic.twitter.com/VpcY4V27RJSeptember 13, 2020
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