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Having fallen badly during Tuesday’s Vuelta a España time trial but been able to continue in the race, Nairo Quintana has had to put a definite end to his participation after crashing on Wednesday’s eleventh stage.
The Colombian rider was one of several who hit the deck inside the first 20 kilometres of the 153.4 kilometre race between Pamplona and Santuario de San Miguel de Aralar. According to initial reports, a large group went down, as did a media motorbike. It is not clear if the latter was the cause of the crash or was caught up in it.
The effects of the two crashes have meant that Quintana has thrown in the towel and will not now be able to achieve his goal of winning the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España in the same season. BMC Racing Team’s Steve Morabito has also been forced out.
Commenting via Twitter, Quintana’s Movistar team said that the rider ‘feels pain in his right-hand shoulder [and] has been moved by ambulance to a medical centre to check on any fractures.”
Speaking after Tuesday’s time trial, he had earlier reflected on the time lost and his sensations afterwards.
“I’m hurting in my left ankle and I also have blows all over my body, but I hope it’s nothing serious,” he said then. “This is cycling. I lost some time and I might be switching to help out Alejandro so we can conquer the overall podium.”
Team-mate Alejandro Valverde rode well in the time trial and ended the day second overall, 27 seconds behind the new race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo).
He said that he was disappointed to hear that Quintana had crashed, but that he was glad that he had been able to continue.
“Having the two of us closer in the overall would have been better for our interests, but the only important thing now is that Nairo is still racing. I’m sure he will recover well, even though I’m told it was quite a blow. We’ll keep fighting to do great in this Vuelta.”
Valverde will now have to shoulder leadership status alone, becoming the sole GC option for the team after Quintana’s unfortunate withdrawal.