Tour de France: Vincenzo Nibali and Richie Porte bemoan Alberto Contador's early exit
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: 15/07/14 10:36am
Vincenzo Nibali is now the favourite to claim Tour victory
Race leader Vincenzo Nibali and second-placed Richie Porte have bemoaned Alberto Contador’s early exit from the Tour de France.
Contador crashed on wet roads with just under 100km of stage ten remaining and although he tried to continue, a fracture to his right leg forced him to abandon around 20km later.
Nibali went on to win the stage solo and consequently moves back into the yellow jersey, with Porte 2min 23sec down in second place after finishing seventh on the day.
Nibali, who ordered his Astana team to wait for Contador before the Spaniard abandoned, said: “I feel sorry for Alberto Contador. He crashed just in front of me and I was scared that I would go down as well, but I don't know why he crashed. I have just seen that it was a heavy fall.
'Handle my advantage'
"I was expecting attacks from Contador, so in the next stages I will look at controlling again, but without him. I will try to keep the yellow jersey, but I won't be left without rivals. Richie Porte and Alejandro Valverde are up there. I will have to handle my advantage."
Team Sky rider Porte, whose team-mate and defending champion Chris Froome crashed out of the Tour on stage five, also offered his sympathies to Contador.
However, his own chances of challenging for victory have been strengthened by the Spaniard's withdrawal and he admitted life could be easier from now on.
"It's never nice seeing riders crash. Froomey is at home now so that is two of the three main favourites gone."
“It’s a shame to lose Alberto like that,” the Australian said. “I hope he is OK. It’s going to definitely change the dynamics of the race. It would have been a harder finale if Tinkoff-Saxo had have been there.
'Day by day'
"We will take it day by day and I think we are in a pretty good position going into the first rest day.”
Porte’s Team Sky team-mate Geraint Thomas also suffered a heavy crash on stage ten, but unlike Contador, he escaped serious injury and was able to finish.
He said: “It's never nice seeing riders crash. Froomey is at home now so that is two of the three main favourites gone.
“It's never good for the race, but on a purely selfish level, I guess it's good for us that Alberto is out. It is never nice to see someone injured though and we wish him a speedy recovery.”