Tour de France

Quintana blasts irritating outsiders

2015-07-20 21:30
Nairo Quintana. (Laurent Cipriani, AP)

Gap - Tour de France contender Nairo Quintana branded Warren Barguil as irritating after the young Frenchman caused a frightening crash on a difficult descent on Monday.

The 22-year-old Barguil lost control on a tight corner on the break-neck downhill run into the finish of the 201km 16th stage from Bourg-de-Peage to Gap and knocked Geraint Thomas off the road.

The Welshman hit his head on a lamppost as he fell off a sheer drop into vegetation.

But a supporter pushed him back up to the road and he carried onto the finish, incredibly losing only 38sec to those who'd been around him before he fell.

"I'm OK, I just hit my head on a lamppost but I'm alright," said the chirpy 29-year-old.

But Quintana said Barguil, 10th overall and with little chance of a podium finish, let alone winning the race, should not have been rubbing shoulders with the overall contenders on such a tricky descent that is known for its crashes.

"Almost every time we come here there's a crash in this race," said the 25-year-old Colombian.

"Today we only just escaped.

"There are riders who, with nothing to fight for, get in the middle and irritate those of us fighting for the general classification and cause crashes.

"I only just escaped."

Barguil himself blamed Tejay Van Garderen for bumping him before he lost control.

"I'm sorry. Just before the bend, Tejay Van Garderen touched me with his shoulder and my finger slipped off the brake," said the 22-year-old.

"I couldn't break. I was very afraid, I thought I'd go straight (over the edge)."

American Van Garderen saw things very differently, though.

"Some riders were definitely taking big risks. I was just trying to stay on the wheel I was on," said the BMC team leader.

"But a lot of riders were trying to come over the top and take over positions, taking way too big risks.

"That's how Geraint Thomas took a fall. Warren Barguil took him out. I was just glad to get down safely."

Thomas, who has a history of crashing, typically reacted with dry humour to the incident.

"Everyone knows it's a dodgy descent, I just got taken out -- 100 percent it was a mistake (by Barguil)," he said.

"I feel all right for now. I guess the doctor will ask me my name and date of birth soon," he added before jokingly claiming he thought his name was Chris Froome.

"A nice Frenchman pulled me out but I lost my glasses as well. They don't even make them any more."

The descent into Gap is infamous and before Thomas's crash, several riders suffered hairy moments not only on that same corner but several others too.

Barguil himself almost went off the road in the Thomas incident.

And in a scary portent, Thomas had actually spoken of the danger of that "dodgy" descent in his BBC column before the race.

"Riding at the 2003 Tour, Lance Armstrong had to go off the road and ride across a field to avoid Joseba Beloki, who had fallen off ahead of him.

"And the last time the Tour rode it, in 2013, Froome and (Alberto) Contador had to go off the road too."

Read more on:    tdf 2015  |  nairo quintana  |  cycling


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