Sunday, July 08, 2012

Tour disaster round-up

On a day that will probably go down as one of the worst in Euskaltel's history, Samuel Sánchez crashed and abandoned, Gorka Verdugo gave best to his injuries, and the team is left with five riders and no leader with two weeks still to go.

As is already well documented, Samu hit the ground after kilometre 59, and sustained serious injuries. The 34-year-old is diagnosed with a severely bruised left collarbone and a broken bone in his right hand (the third metacarpal). It was initially reported he had also dislocated his shoulder, but that's yet to be confirmed by the team.

Speaking from the hospital, Samu was more focused on getting his body back together than setting a return date.

"My main concern now is my health", he told the team's website. "I want to know the exact state of the injuries. Health comes first, and then afterwards we can talk schedules, competitions... I'm looking towards the future optimistically, but first I need to know the state of my injuries. Once I get that info, I'll start working on my comeback as fast as possible. It's actually the first time ever in my sporting career that I break a bone. I've hit the ground a few times, but it's the first time I've hit the ground so violently that I've been forced to abandon. I don't remember the crash all that well, but the pace was slowing down, I braked, someone ran into me from behind, and I fell. It was a hard fall, and in addition someone landed on top of me. I got up on my feet quickly, but I was feeling dizzy and had to lay down. Then I realized I wasn't going to make it".

The crash is undoubtedly a weird one. A guy sitting in a chair at the left side of the road seems to perhaps be impeding the riders, but if he's the source of the crash is hard to tell. Watch how it all unfolded on EITB below:


"For the first time in a long time I cried", he continued. "It was a very hard situation to be in. You sacrifice a lot to get to a race like this in good condition, so to leave the Tour like this hurts. I'm sorry for my team-mates. They've helped me out a lot, and I imagine they'll be upset now. But they're all great professionals, and I'm sure they'll kick-start the Tour again.

"What's left now is to absorb what happened. Yesterday I said it was important not to crash... Despite losing a minute yesterday (1:30 to be precise), me and my team were calm and confident. We knew there was a lot of racing left to be done, like the two time trials, the Alps, the Pyrenees. There was a long way to go, and I was finding my form. I liked the look of today's stage, but that's the way it goes sometimes. I'd rather look ahead than backwards, absorb what happened, and learn from it. You don't learn a lot when things go well, but when stuff like this does, you have a chance to learn".

Another rider going home today was Gorka Verdugo. The reliable climber of course hurt his hip on the very first day, and had soldiered on amid great pain for more than a week in the hope of recovering sufficiently to be able to help Samu in the mountains. A 10 cm deep gash to his tibia didn't help, and Verdugo finally decided to post a DNF and call it quits during the stage. With both Samu and Verdugo out, coupled with Txurruka and Astarloza, the 2012 Tour is quickly shaping up to be one of the worst ever for the team, and it'll take gigantic performances from R Pérez, Azanza, G Izagirre, Martínez and Urtasun to save this Tour for the team.

Speaking of Izagirre, Ion's older brother showed he's close to peaking with another great ride in the medium mountains today. Izagirre stayed with the likes of Klöden, Valverde and Moncoutié en route to a 29th place finish at 2:21, meaning he's now a creditable 25th overall heading into tomorrow's first big test against the clock.

Here's the riders' start times for the 41,5km ITT from Arc-et-Senans to Besancon:
  • 10:13 - Pablo Urtasun
  • 12:13 - Rubén Pérez
  • 13:05 - Jorge Azanza
  • 15:06 - Egoi Martínez
  • 15:27 - Gorka Izagirre
As for today's results, they look like this:
  • (1, Thibault Pinot (FDJ), 3:56:10)
  • 29, Gorka Izagirre, 2:21
  • 44, Egoi Martínez, 4:58
  • 110, Jorge Azanza, 16:41
  • 114, Rubén Pérez, s.t.
  • 118, Pablo Urtasun, s.t.
General classification:
  • (1, Bradley Wiggins (Sky), 38:17:56)
  • 25, Gorka Izagirre, 6:05
  • 32, Egoi Martínez, 10:05
  • 78, Jorge Azanza, 29:42
  • 104, Rubén Pérez, 34:08
  • 164, Pablo Urtasun, 57:09
As for other Basques, the ever-reliable Haimar Zubeldia is looking better than ever in the colours of the beleaguered RadioShack-Nissan team. Judging by the way he's going now, Haimar, seemingly leaner than ever, is well on his way to a top ten overall.


1 comment:

Stephen said...

Good job I'm a Brit and can cheer Wiggins on or I'd probably stop watching now!

(btw, this is sureal....there have been years when we didn't have anyone in the race so to be in with a strong chance of winning it is...well, words fail me, its just so hard to believe.)


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