Crashes took out an unlucky Jakob Fuglsang, who was in the best shape ever heading into the Tour de France, say Astana.
The Dane had been one of the pre-Tour favourites, but a crash in stage one and again on stage 15 ended his chance for a win or even a podium. He abandoned mid-stage and though x-rays later revealed nothing broken, he suffered traumas to his left wrist.
“His was on his best form, it’s true,” sports director Dmitriy Fofonov told Cycling Weekly. “And he’s always better in the Alps.
“We spoke with the trainers, he was in really good shape and also he had the numbers like when he won the Dauphiné last month. We planned to do something in the Alps, but not now.”
Fuglsang fell with two Team Sunweb riders at 27 kilometres to race in stage 15 to Nîmes. He had been sitting ninth at 5-27 in the general classification.
“We weren’t thinking about the win because it was already done, but for the podium, yes. The fight for the podium was open. With the last three days and the climbs, at altitude… but now it’s finished.”
Fuglsang won Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Critérium du Dauphiné this spring, but has been unlucky with crashes in the Tour. His best result was a seventh in 2013 and last year, he placed 12th behind winner Geraint Thomas.
“Especially here at the Tour, it’s a big loss to the team, for Jakob… the whole team,” continued Fofonov. “We are one big team, it’s not personally for him, but for all the team. It’s c‘est la vie. We look for the future.”
Fuglsang has returned home to Luxembourg and is having some more checks to understand the severity of his injuries.
“This race is very important race, never relaxing and every time something happens. Sometimes it’s your fault, sometimes you are not at fault. Also yesterday, with the hot weather, maybe some some riders are not lucid with 43 degrees, and you are going 60 kilometres per hour. You need to be concentrated and focused,” Fofonov said.
“First he needs to recover, this is hard for the morale because this was a big big objective. Especially for Jakob, it’s difficult to talk with him because it hurts. He’s in very good shape, the best shape in four years, but now it’s done with the Tour de France.”