Movistar's Carlos Betancur posts photo from hospital bed after crashing with Tejay van Garderen during stage six of the 2017 Vuelta a España

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Carlos Betancur has been forced to abandon the Vuelta a España after crashing heavily on Thursday’s stage six, suffering facial injuries and a fractured ankle.

The Colombian posted a photograph of himself on Instagram giving the thumbs up in hospital after receiving treatment for his injuries.

Betancur went into the stage as the Movistar team’s highest-placed rider overall in 16th spot.

The 27-year-old was riding in a select group that included race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) when he was brought down in a crash with American Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing).

Una pena tener que despedirme de la vuelta de esta manera pero regresaremos con más fuerza! 💪💪💪

A post shared by carlosbetancur (@carlosbetancur) on

Van Garderen appeared to fall first on the descent of the Alto del Garbí, leaving Betancur with no room for manoeuvre. The BMC rider later said that it was a ‘mystery’ as to what had caused the incident.

Betancur fell heavily, but despite his injuries he managed to get back on his bike and finish the stage, 12 minutes and 31 seconds down on winner Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal).

>>> Watch: Bizarre crash takes out Tejay van Garderen and Carlos Betancur at Vuelta a España

He was taken to University Hospital of Sagunto, where the Movistar team says he underwent a CT scan and X-rays. The tests showed that he had fractured a bone in his right ankle, which required a plaster cast and therefore it is impossible for him to continue in the race.


Watch: Vuelta a España 2017 stage six highlights


Betancur was subsequently moved to La Fe hospital in Valencia to have surgery on his facial injuries.

This year’s Vuelta was the first time since 2014 that Betancur has ridden in the race, and he looked set to post his best-ever result in the Spanish three-week race after placing 18th overall in the Tour de France.

“A pity to have to say goodbye after returning this way, but we will return with more strength!” he said on Instagram.