La Planche des Belles Filles - Former two-time winner Alberto Contador broke down in tears as he
quit the Tour de France on Monday after breaking his leg in a bad crash
on the tough 10th stage.
The Spaniard's abandonment was the second
major loss to the 101st edition of the Grand Boucle following reigning
champion Chris Froome's withdrawal through injury on Wednesday.
has a broken tibia. It's not a bad fracture but he needs surgery," the
Spaniard's Tinkoff-Saxo team boss Bjarne Riis told journalists.
"He's in a lot of pain and is getting stitches.
"Mentally he's destroyed, of course. He was in the shape of his life. This was his Tour.
"It's a mess. We were here to win the Tour de France. He's in super good condition, never better. It's a big, big pity."
After pulling out of the race, Contador went for an X-ray in the Tour's medical bus.
departure of the two pre-race favourites left Italian Vincenzo Nibali
in a strong position and he regained the yellow jersey by winning
Monday's 161.5km mountainous stage from Mulhouse to La Planche des
The Astana team leader, who had begun the day in
second behind Frnechman Tony Gallopin, now leads Australian Richie Porte
by 2:23 with Aljenadro Valverde in third at 2:47.
31-year-old suffered a nasty gash to his right knee and had blood
pouring down his leg as he received lengthy treatment by the side of the
"He came past me (on a descent) and I would have followed
him because there was a climb coming up but the moment he passed me, I
don't know how, but he fell in front of me," explained Nibali.
"It was incredible, he rolled around on the ground. We were going at 60kph."
Contador's knee was patched up by the race doctor and he changed bikes and a shoe before continuing the race.
He had lost around four minutes on the peloton by this time, after which Astana took over pace-setting at the front.
five of Contador's Tinkoff-Saxo teammates dropping back to help pace
him up the Col du Platzerwasel, he started losing more time.
15km later and about halfway through the stage, Contador shared a hug
with chief lieutenant, Australian Michael Rogers, before stopping by the
side of the road and climbing into a team car.
Visibly in pain, he was in floods of tears.
posted his comiserations on Twitter, saying: "Big loss for the TDF
today. Recover well @albertocontador & I hope to see you at the
Straight after news of his abandonment filtered through
to the peloton, Astana seemed to ease up and the escape group in front
started to increase their lead that had been coming down.
Last Wednesday, Briton Froome crashed twice before climbing off his bike and quitting the Tour.
29-year-old Team Sky leader had already injured his wrist the previous
day in a crash and an MRI scan on Thursday showed he had fractures to
his left wrist and right hand.
Froome's super-domestique, Porte, took over the Sky leadership from Thursday and now appears to be Nibali's major competition.
Tiago Machado, who started the day third overall, was another to crash
on the descent of the Petit Ballon, although he had rejoined the peloton
by the time it crested the Col du Platzerwasel with 90km left.
he suffered a terrible day and came home last, shepherded by teammate
Andreas Schillinger, more than 43 minutes behind Nibali and more than 10
after the previous stragglers.
Organisers had initially, and erroneously, announced that he had abandoned the race.