Tour de France (st. 9)
Colombian loses 1'15" at Chambéry's finish as Urán (CDT) wins tough Jura stage. Quintana now 8th overall, more than 2mins behind Froome. Hard crash for Herrada, who manages to complete the stage
The toughest stage of the 2017 Tour de France in the Jura mountains -181km from Nantua to Chambéry, with no less than seven categorized climbs and three Hors Categorie ascents in the second part of the day- turned out of be a difficult afternoon for Nairo Quintana and the Movistar Team, both seeing their chances for a good GC result reduced as the Colombian struggled to keep the pace of the main contenders at the final kilometers of the decisive Mont du Chat (HC).
Nairo's enormous effort, the Cóndor able to follow the first moves by Aru (AST) and Porte (BMC) -later withdrawing due to a serious crash into the downhill-, was able to reach the summit 40" after the main group and even make up some time at the descent, later joined by a pursuit group including Martin (QST), Bennett (TLJ) and Yates (ORS). Quintana, who narrowly avoided a crash at the downhill of the Col de la Biche (HC), one which forced Thomas (SKY) to abandon, and also a small incident against Contador (TFS) into the last climb, finished the stage in 10th spot (+1'15") and sits now in 8th overall, 2'13" in arrears of Chris Froome (SKY).
During today's stage, and while making part of the big, early break -38 riders- alongside team-mate Carlos Betancur, Jesús Herrada suffered a huge crash at the same point Thomas did. Quickly on his feet and his bike, the Spanish road race champion battle through huge pain on his right knee to complete the stage with the main sprinters, inside time limit at almost 40 minutes from the day's winner.
Covered with bandages all over his right-hand side, yet without fractures after X-ray exames undergone at the mobile clinic next to Chambéry's finish, Herrada will try to take advantage from the first rest day in Périgueux on Monday to recover and try to stay on course.
Nairo Quintana: "We lacked some bit of energy we really needed. We fought all we could, but we lost more time. It's always difficult to reach optimal form when you chase the goals we went for this year. Fortunately, I could get through a really horrible clash. I don't know how I managed to avoid it. You'd have to feel so happy only considering that. It could have been worse, we could be out of the Tour.
"Apart from this, we must carry on and keep fighting, see how we feel in the next week. We know we're not as strong as we wanted, but that's human nature, you just don't feel as you want when you wish. You've got to know how to get through the most difficult moments. We will go step by step and think calmly about what's to come, to see if we can find some new way to refocus our race."
Jesús Herrada: "At least I'm here at the finish (smiles). My right knee is what hurts the most at this moment. Lutsenko just crashed in front of me, at a fast section of that wet descent, and even when you ride cautiously on such parts, crashes like that one are inevitable. When I got back to my bike and to the doctor's car, they told me I had a knee dislocation, but I tried to continue and managed to complete the stage. It keeps hurting as much as it did after I crash, not more, but I'm sure that it will be worse when I cool down after the stage. I also abandoned the race last year at this part of France, and I wouldn't like to go through the same thing again this time."