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"I have to say that the loss of Jesús is a big blow for the team. I had reserved him for the mountains, it’s a shame. I hope that it is not something too serious," Contador says

Photo: Sirotti

ALBERTO CONTADOR

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JESUS HERNANDEZ BLAZQUEZ

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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10.07.2014 @ 23:11 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Alberto Contador lost a key helper for the upcoming mountain stages when Jesus Hernandez crashed out of the Tour de France today. The team leader laments the loss and hopes to have his close friend back for the Vuelta a Espana.

 


Today’s 196 kilometer long 6th stage of Tour de France took the peloton from Arra to the Champagne capitol, Reims. A stretch going through a historic landscape where thousands and thousands of young men fought for freedom during World War I and died. Ten million soldiers lost their lives during the war and millions were missed. No one in the field died today but it was a bunch of sore riders licking their wounds after yesterday’s violent battle on the wet cobblestones – a battle with losers and winners. And more riders abandoned today.


A foggy and rainy day in Nortern France created difficult and dangerous siuations with numerous crashes. A breakaway consisting of Tom Leezer (Belkin), Luis Maté (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (IAM) and Arnaud Gérard (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) managed to work up a small lead but the peloton became startled as soon as the wind picked up and the battle for position was due. The up-beat pace of the pack caused havoc and unfortunately, Tinkoff-Saxo Spaniard, Jesus Hernandez crashed out of the race.
 
But Contador remained surrounded by Michael Mørkøv, Matteo Tosatto Daniele Bennati, Nicolas Roche and Michael Rogers throughout the entire stage and they didn’t leave the front before the final 12 kilometers where the last standing escapees were inhaled by the field. No less than 9 roundabouts and endless road furniture created the dangerous scene for the swift bunch sprint finale where André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) was in a perfect position and took a superb stage win.


Unfortunately, Jesus Hernandez was forced to abandon after his crash where he hurt his head. He was diagnosed with cranial trauma and contusions to his hip and back.

 

"I have to say that the loss of Jesús is a big blow for the team. I had reserved him for the mountains, it’s a shame. I hope that it is not something too serious," Contador said. "For me it is very hard because I had a big confidence in him, but the most important thing is that he will be well and that he will be ready for the Vuelta."

 

"It’s unfortunate that we lose a guy. It’s never good, but that’s racing and that’s the circumstances. We can’t do anything about it and we must go on. It’s tough, it’s hard and he tried, but he couldn’t go on and he’s really hurt his head," said manager Bjarne Riis. "We have what we have and we will get the best out of it. It doesn’t change our strategy. We have a man less and that’s it, we can’t do anything."

 

“Jesus was riding in the far side of the road because of the crosswind and somehow lost control of the bike and he hit the road pretty hard and when I talked to him, he had the symptoms of a concussion," sports director Philippe Mauduit said. "But he’s on his way to the hospital at this moment and they will examine him so we’ll know for sure. It’s a sad day for Alberto and for team to miss a rider but we have to stay focused.

 

"Tomorrow’s stage could be a tricky one and I’m not sure the entire pack is going to cross the finish line in a bunch sprint. We have to stay alert like today and keep Alberto safe."


Contador is 18th overall, 2.37 behind Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

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