Quintana loses a minute in Tour de France after late crash

Another day, another defeat. Nairo Quintana's difficult Tour de France showed no sign of letting up even on a flat day like stage 16 to Nîmes, where the Colombian was caught up in a crash.

After the pile-up with approximately 11 kilometres to go, the Movistar rider lost over a minute and is now 9:30 down on race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep).

Following his double Pyrenean defeat, this is the third consecutive stage where Quintana has lost time on the favourites, although paradoxically he has moved up one place overall to 12th following the abandon of Jakob Fuglsang (Astana).

Quintana put on a brave face at the finish, but there is no doubt that this is proving a challenging Tour in the extreme for the Colombian, whose dream of becoming his country's first Tour de France winner – the sueno amarillo [yellow dream] as it is dubbed by his supporters – is now on hold for at least another year.

Having crashed and injured his elbow on another flat stage into Toulouse at the beginning of the second week, Quintana was luckier the second time he got caught up in a fall. But time-wise, the events of stage 16 inflicted damage on Quintana's Tour de France once again.

"I didn't fall, but I had to put a foot down and I was blocked behind in the crash," Quintana told reporters at the finish line. "That ended up with me finishing over a minute down."

The day had proved difficult enough, Quintana said, with the extreme heat blasting down on the peloton. But just as the race was approaching Nîmes, and when it seemed he had come through unscathed, bad luck struck again.

Quintana said that with the entire squad now focussed on working for Mikel Landa – following a convoluted series of diverging strategies on the Tourmalet stage – "the important thing is that Mikel finished with the main group of favourites, and that's why we're happy. We've saved the day."

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