Tour de France dream over for Colombian hopefuls

Rigoberto Urán claims another victory in already successful season Photo: Comité Olímpico Colombia

A dream to become Colombia’s first-ever winner of the Tour de France quickly turned into a nightmare for Rigoberto Urán – who quit the race due to injury on Thursday.

Hopes were high for Urán after finishing runner-up in last year’s race but those hopes came crashing down to earth, literally, in a bad fall of the ninth stage.

The 31-year-old crashed heavily on cobblestones in Roubaix and sustained pain to his left leg and arm which compromised his ability to pedal. Urán managed to compete in the following stages but it was clear injury had taken its toll. The cyclist from Urrao in Antioquia lost almost half-an-hour on the race leader in Wednesday’s mountain stage to La Rosiere.

EF-Education First-Drapac released a statement on Thursday morning which shared some thoughts from Urán and why he had to end the race. “Today I have to share some bad news. I didn’t recover after the crash. Yesterday in the first real climb, all day, there was pain in my body,” he said.

Team head sport director Charly Wegelius said it was a tough decision, but the most important thing is a rider’s health. “Rigo hasn’t recovered from his crash on the cobbled stage, and his position on the bike is compromised and could create further issues down the line. We along with Rigo felt it best to pull out of the Tour this morning so he can recover and look toward the remainder of the season.”

“Ultimately this decision comes down to the rider,” Wegelius added. “If a rider wants to continue the race, we look to ways to do that safely. If a rider feels it best to pull out, we do not push them to continue.”

The crash marked the second time Urán had fallen from his bike in the competition. Last week he fell victim to a crash in the fourth stage to Sarzeau. Luckily Urán was uninjured, and the actions of fellow Colombian Daniel Martinez’s saw the race hopeful jump on his teammate’s bike to be pushed off at speed, away from the chaos and delay. Unfortunately for Urán, his race team and Colombia he was not so lucky the next time he fell.

There was more bad news for Colombian cycling fans on Thursday as Fernando Gaviria was relegated from this year’s Tour. The sprinting specialist lost time in the mountains and fell too far behind to reasonably make the cut. The 23-year-old turned heads at the beginning of the race by winning two of the first five stages and becoming only the second Colombian in history to wear the famous maillot jaune as the overall leader of the race.

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