While Andrew Talansky made headlines by soldiering through 90km after being dropped from the Tour de France, having to struggle in to make the time cut, Tiago Machado, who went through similar circumstances on stage 10, was recounting his experiences to Eurosport after suffering through stage 11.
Machado nearly abandoned the Tour de France on stage 10 after crashing with 100km to go. It was announced over race radio that he had left the race, but bloodied and in pain, the 28-year-old Portuguese rider insisted on continuing to La Planch des Belles Filles.
"I have no idea what happened on that descent," Machado told Eurosport today. "We were going down really fast, and we weren't really taking very many risks. It was just a normal race situation. I think I got hit by the wind and the bike just slipped away, and before I knew it, I was on the ground.
"I started to walk, when the ambulance was there," Machado said. "Then I remembered my parents were watching the stage, and I said I had to carry on and finish the stage for the pride of my family. The team deserved it as well, so I had to do that."
Team director Enrico Poitschke then faced with a difficult decision - whether to send riders back and risk them all missing the time cut, or leave Machado, who had started the stage in third place on the general classification, on his own.
Garmin-Sharp chose to leave Talansky to his own devices, but NetApp-Endura sent back Andreas Schillinger, Paul Voss, Zak Dempster and Jose Mendes to help Machado finish the stage. In the end, only Schillinger was at his side, just outside the time limit at 43:06, but the ASO allowed them to continue in the race.
"It was a difficult decision for us. Should we let another rider wait for him, although it seemed unlikely they would make the time limit over the remaining 100km? We decided to do it and were lucky that the race jury decided as they did. The Tour is usually very strict about such cases. But maybe the happenings of the last few days have led them to decide in our favor," Poitschke said.
After the 187km of rough roads between Doubs and Oyonnax, Machado was still in pain, but looking ahead to when his body recovers. "Today was a tough day. It was very painful in my legs and in my arms as well. I was feeling all of the vibrations throughout my body. It was a recovery day. When my condition is back I'm going to try and win a stage."
His team directeur supports him, too. "He will have to struggle hard with his serious injuries in the next few days as well, but we hope he’ll recover and maybe even make a good showing during the final week of the Tour. Until then, we won’t be demanding anything from him and we’ll be happy for him to cross the finish line," Poitschke said.
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