Tour de France (st. 1)
Movistar Team rider to undergo surgery in Germany tonight after breaking left leg's kneecap. Talus bone fracture also confirmed
The 2017 Tour de France barely lasted seven kilometers for Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) as he suffered a serious crash during the race's opening TT in Düsseldorf, which forced him to abandon.
Transferred by ambulance to the University Hospital in Düsseldorf, examinations confirmed two fractures to his left leg: one in his kneecap and another one in the talus bone. Valverde also suffered a deep wound to his tibia, without any muscle tissue affected by that cut.
The doctors taking care of Valverde's condition have decided to operate him on his kneecap fracture tonight, which means that Valverde will remain in Germany for the next few hours and the schedule for his return home is still unconfirmed. The recovery time expected by the Movistar Team's doctors makes it unlikely for the Spaniard to return racing during the current season.
It's Valverde's third DNF in the race, Alejandro unable to complete any of his first two Tours (2005, 2006) but a consistent feature at the overall top-ten of the race, six times in the last ten years, plus a podium finisher (3rd) in 2015.
In turn, Nairo Quintana performed notably in this TT. The Colombian finished 48" behind stage winner Geraint Thomas (SKY) and 36" after the Welshman's team-mate Chris Froome, yet remained close or even better than the likes of Porte (+1"), Bardet (-3"), Aru (-4"), Pinot (-2") or Contador (-6"). The Colombian expressed his sadness towards Valverde's withdrawal: "It's really difficult for all of us – he's a very important human being and a great team-mate. I just hope it's nothing really serious. It's awful to see his race ending that way, so early."