Tour de France (st. 18)
Crash en route to Pau causes blows and bruises to Colombian from Movistar Team; Cóndor continues into ‘Grande Boucle’ -5th overall- before Tourmalet and Aubisque (Friday).
Frenchman Arnaud Démare (GFC) took Thursday’s win in Pau, at the end of stage 18 of the 2018 Tour de France (171km), overshadowed for the Movistar Team by Nairo Quintana’s crash after 65 kilometers of racing.
The Colombian, falling down over his left-hand side and sustaining blows and bruises to his elbow, shoulder and ankle -as well as to his right thumb- was bandaged by the race doctors and changed his race wear before going back to the peloton with support from Bennati, Amador and Soler. Nairo completed the stage with no other trouble, inside the main field.
Quintana remains in 5th place overall, 3’30” behind Geraint Thomas (SKY), with Mikel Landa in 7th, heading towards the final Pyrenees stage on Friday. Six climbs and 200km will take the riders to Laruns before Saturday’s hilly, decisive TT, including the Aspin (Cat-1), Tourmalet (HC), Bordères (Cat-2) and Aubisque (HC) ascents.
Nairo Quintana: “It’s awful to have suffered this crash – one way or another, I always seem to be a bit fucked up. I’ve got some blows over my ankle, my shoulder and also a thumb I had already hurt on Wednesday. The race doctors put some bandages on my bruises, but before I don’t get them cleaned, I have shower and visit our team doctors, I won’t be able to ensure it’s all minor. I just hope to recover well, do some good work to heal this thumb with the team physios and try and do the best possible race tomorrow.”
Eusebio Unzué: “Nairo has some blows and bruises over the left side of his body and, more importantly, a harder impact on his right thumb, which didn’t allow him changing gears comfortably. We’re pending an early checkup from our team doctors, but all in all, we don’t think it should be a great problem. It was a tough stage, with high temperatures, 45 to 46 kph average and lots of fatigue from the past three weeks. If you combine that with a crash like Nairo’s, it gets difficult. Let’s hope it’s just those blows and bruises, so he can recover well and be up there and fighting again tomorrow.”