Late crash costs Contador at Il Lombardia
Tinkoff-Saxo rider hits his knee and loses WorldTour lead to Valverde
Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) was hoping to win Il Lombardia and score as many UCI WorldTour ranking points as possible to extend his lead on close rival and fellow Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). But after the finish and a rapid visit to anti-doping, he could only reflect on a disastrous race that left him in pain and 66 points behind Valverde with only the Tour of Beijing left to race.
Contador was not in the front group of nine riders that descended to Bergamo together before Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) made is late winning move. He was distanced on the climb to Bergamo Alto and then crashed with other riders as they went through the final corner far too fast. He was quickly up and finished in 34th place at 58 seconds. But that left him out of the UCI WorldTour points and in pain.
“I'd seen the last corner on the internet and knew it was tight and that we'd have to be careful going into it. But they crashed in front of me and it was impossible to avoid going down,” Contador said explained to journalists at the finish.
“It's my weak point and it's the same knee where my scare is (from the Tour de France crash). I can feel it. Now we'll treat it and see how I feel after a night's sleep, I hope it's okay.”
Contador conceded that he now has little chance of winning the UCI WorldTour and hinted that he might not even travel to Beijing. However he later was more optimistic when he took to Twitter.
“I think it's going to be very difficult (to beat Valverde) now. We'll get through tonight and then see how I feel,” he said. “Right now it’s not important. He gained points and is now 66 points ahead of me. I will keep my eyes on Tour of Beijing and hopefully I’ll be able to compete.”
Contador travelled home to Lugano on Sunday evening, just a 90-minute drive from Bergamo. He only has 24 hours at home to decide if he will ride the Tour of Beijing, with most riders traveling to China on Monday or Tuesday. The final WorldTour race begins on Friday October 10.
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.