Alberto Contador was in tears. The rider known as “El Pistolero,” the man who has overcome a brain aneurysm, defeated Lance Armstrong, and been at the center of a controversial doping suspension, had, for the first time in his career, abandoned a grand tour, brought down by a violent crash early on stage 10 of the Tour de France.
Though he’d attempted to continue on, the pain of what would later prove to be a fractured tibia was too much for the Spaniard. He chased for about 30 minutes, surrounded by his teammates, but was losing time to the overall race favorites. And then, with a hug to teammate Michael Rogers, Contador pulled over, dismounted his bike, and climbed out of the fog and into his team car. His head was in his hand, doing little to mask the tears, the pain, and the bitter disappointment of a lost opportunity.
“Mentally he’s destroyed,” said TInkoff-Saxo manager Bjarne Riis. “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.”
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