Tour de France (st. 20)
Crash prevents Spanish champion from contesting victory at Marseille's TT showdown. Jasha Sütterlin finishes 12th; Quintana, Betancur conserve overall top-20 finishes
The Movistar Team's biggest hope for the stage win at Saturday's decisive TT in the Tour de France (22.5km in and around Marseille) vanished after few hundred meters from the start. European time trial champion Jonathan Castroviejo crashed as he took the first turn left and out of the Stade Vélodrome, holding the start and finish of today's race. Forced to changed bikes and get back into speed, bruises covering his left side, the Basque could only finish 28th in the day. Jasha Sütterlin defended the Blues' honour with a solid 12th spot, 42" behind winner Maciej Bodnar (BOH).
At the fight for overall honours, Chris Froome (SKY) all but confirmed his fourth GC win by putting 25" on Rigoberto Urán (CDT), who in turn got back into second place after Romain Bardet (ALM) struggled to keep the pace both in the flat and on the slopes of Nôtre-Dame de la Garde – so far as conserving his podium finish by just 1" against Mikel Landa (SKY). Nairo Quintana, who finished the day 1'42" down on the winner, remained 12th overall as Carlos Betancur completed a great maiden Tour in 18th.
The 2017 'Grande Boucle' will take its curtains down on Sunday with a 105km ride from Montgeron to Paris, with the eight classic, fast-paced laps around the Champs-Élysses after celebrations early in the stage.
Jonathan Castroviejo: "I was so focused on this one. I had taken several days to sort of recover, while into the race, before tackling this TT, and knew that I had the legs to contest it, but I just crashed into the very first corner. There was a little section of concrete after the tunnel out of the stadium, barely ten meters, but the grip wasn't the same as in the platform over the stadium and when I entered the turn I just slipped and lost control of the bike. It was a gamble – when you go for the win you've got to take chances. It wasn't to be this time.
"When you crash at the start, even if you have good legs as I did, there are too many inconveniences hoy have to get over: I had to change bikes, lost all references as a result of it, the crash also takes away your morale… As I said, I felt well during the time trial, but the only thing I could do after the crash was just finishing as good as possible. Regarding the team, it's true that every season is different, and this TDF was just a rough one for all of us, but many times when you go through misfortune you end up having some good luck later on. Let's hope next year's is a good one for us."