COMBLOUX, France (CT) – On stage 17 of the Tour de France, on the descent off the Col de la Forclaz, Shane Archbold’s front wheel slid out from under him as he hit a soft patch of melted tarmac. The Bora-Argon 18 rider was doing 67km/h when he hit the deck, fracturing his pelvis as he did so.
Team Bora-Argon 18 mechanic Risto Usin was quickly on the scene when Archbold crashed and told CyclingTips that the Kiwi dusted himself down and quickly demanded a bike to complete the stage on.
“When I got there he was still down, he was just reaching (out) his hand to me,” Usin said. “‘Pull me up! Pull me up and give me the f**king bike!’”
Archbold was given a spare bike from the team car given his first bike had been destroyed, not when he crashed, but when Borut Bozic of Cofidis hit Archbold’s bike.
Archbold managed to finish the stage but after an X-ray and a thorough check-over by race doctors, the New Zealander learned he had in fact broken his pelvis, putting paid to any hopes of continuing and finishing the first Grand Tour of his career.
We caught up with Archbold and his teammate Sam Bennett back at their hotel in Sallanches, where both were resting up. Archbold was in surprisingly good spirits and gave us a run through of how he felt initially after the crash and where he will go from here.
Bennett was clearly sad to see not just a teammate, but his best friend out of the Tour. Archbold had helped guide Bennett through the Tour after Bennett himself crashed heavily on stage two, fracturing a finger in the process.
The two have a long racing history together, having both raced for the An-Post team. Bennett brought Archbold over to Bora-Argon 18 in his second season with the German outfit to help in his lead-outs.
It’s now a case of role reversal with Bennett taking care of Archbold before the latter is driven by ambulance (flying is not possible due to the pressure involved on the pelvis) back to his seasonal home of Girona, Spain.
Archbold will have a second scan once in Girona to fully determine the extent of his injuries. Depending on his recovery, and if there is any other damaged found, it is likely he will be off the bike for anywhere between 10 days to three weeks.