Contador, one of the race favourites with Chris Froome (Sky) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar), crashed exiting a roundabout with Sky’s Luke Rowe and Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing). He scraped his right side, from leg to shoulder, the same one he fell on and dislocated in the 2015 Giro d’Italia that he won.
“My shoulder hurts depending on my position but the Tour de France doesn’t end here,” the rider that Spaniard’s call ‘El Pistolero’ said after the stage.
“I want to be optimistic, I’m thinking of taking a maximum profit of the hours ahead of tomorrow’s uphill finish to recover.”
The incident happened at 78 kilometres to race in the 188-kilometre first stage through Normandy. Contador’s front wheel slipped out from under him and he fell. After he quickly returned to his bike, team-mates Maciej Bodnar and Matteo Tosatto helped him immediately in the chase to re-join the peloton.
“There was a lot of tension because we were fighting for positions at the front to avoid the wind,” he added.
“We were paying attention but I saw a central reservation too late and the front wheel went to the side. It’s bad luck, I’m screwed.”
Contador sought attention from the race doctor, who reported that he did not fracture his shoulder. Contador suffered abrasions to the right shoulder, elbow, hip and knee. In last year’s Giro, he dislocated his shoulder after a stage six crash, but continued to win two weeks later. In the 2014 Tour, however, he abandoned after breaking his leg.
“All my right side is injured, from the knee to the shoulder,” he explained. “We know how cycling is: months of preparation and the first day you’re on the ground. Fortunately, nothing is broken and I’ll try to pass the next few days the best I can to recover before the mountains.”