The Colombian race favourite crashed heavily after hitting road-side barriers during Tuesday’s individual time trial whilst wearing the red leader’s jersey. After losing over four minutes to stage winner Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), and over three minutes to his GC rivals, Quintana’s overall chances were severely diminished.
During Wednesday’s stage 11, Quintana crashed again, allegedly with a press motorbike. He was taken by ambulance to the medical centre for x-rays and was found to have broken his scapula (shoulder blade). Steve Morabito (BMC) was also involved in the crash, and withdrew from the race.
Quintana was favoured for the overall win after claiming the Giro d’Italia in May.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) currently leads the race ahead of Quintana’s team-mate Alejandro Valverde. Valverde will now assume sole leadership of Movistar.
Britain’s Chris Froome (Sky) is fifth overall after putting in a mediocre – by his standards – ride in the time trial.
Both Contador and Froome were forced to abandon the Tour de France in July due to crash injuries.
Images from the stage 10 Vuelta a Espana time trial, won by Tony Martin; Photos by Graham Watson
Nairo Quintana crashes to lose race lead to Alberto Contador; Chris Froome loses time to rivals