Coming into the 2017 Tour de France with six wins under his belt this season, Alexander Kristoff was aiming to add to his two stage wins from 2014 and secure a new contract. The Tour hasn't gone exactly to plan for the Katusha-Alpecin rider who suffered a heavy crash when descending the Col d'Ornon on stage 17.
Kristoff was one of several riders to fall but was able to finish the stage in 113th place despite his injuries. Kristoff suffered facial injuries along with wounds to his arms and hand. He explained the accident occurred when eating, just as he hit a crack in the middle of the road.
"Maybe the roads in France are at fault. I don't know. It was a nice road, and we just finished the first downhill. We were in a nice position and the last corner was a left corner then a straight and a downhill finish so I took a bar to eat and came in with a little bit more speed than the guys in front," Kristoff explained.
"I went to the right not to crash into them, and I don't brake so I keep the speed with me. Then in the middle of the road, just on the white lines, and in the white line there is a crack, and I think my bike just stopped in this crack and suddenly I was in the air with food in my right hand and no bike in the left."
Listed in the official Tour de France medical bulletin for "dermabrasion of the left cheekbone, left elbow and left knee associated with bruising of the left shoulder", Kristoff added that considering the accident, he is "as good as I can be".
"He said it wasn't a fracture as I would have more pain," said Kristoff of the doctor's prognosis. "I feel not the best. I have felt better for sure but after a crash like this, I'm as good as I can be."
Despite the injuries, Kristoff explained that he would pin on a race number for stage 18 and expects to finish.
"Yeah, I think so. Right now, I couldn't see a reason not to start but maybe if I figure something out in the night is wrong then you never know. Right now I don't have any headache or nothing," he added.
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