Samuel Sánchez's Tour de France hopes took a major hit today as he crashed heavily in today's first stage proper of the Critérium du Dauphiné. The Olympic champ got up and finished the stage, but was immediately transported to a local hospital for check-ups.
As you can see from the pic above (or not, it's admittedly a pretty lousy photo), Samu was in some pain as he crossed the finish line at the end of the 187km stage from Seyssins to Saint-Vallier dead last, a full 23:54 in arrears. The 34-year-old hit the deck with force after approximately 50 clicks, but bravely got up and finished the stage - reportedly with several broken ribs. He was immediately taken to hospital, but since then there's been no updates. The team has promised to keep us all updated through the evening though, so stay tuned.
After his unfortunate incident, he was taken care of by team-mates Peio Bilbao and Ricardo García. The trio were miles behind the others, but that's of course of minor importance right now. If he did indeed break a few ribs, it would, less than four weeks before the big kick-off, be a serious dent in the team's Tour plans. On a positive note though, you could say it can't possibly be that bad if he managed to ride almost 140 kilometres with the injury. Anyway, speculation doesn't really clear anything up, so we're forced to wait for news from the team.
The racing itself wasn't all that bad, with Cadel Evans escaping along with Jerôme Coppel and Andrey Kashechkin in the closing stretches and holding off the peloton to take a surprising, and quite impressive, victory. Wiggins inherited the leader's jersey from Luke Durbridge, as the Brit formed part of the main group to cross the line four seconds down on the breakaway foursome. In that first group was Martínez, Verdugo and Landa, so at least all hope of a good overall placing from the team wasn't lost today.
Check back later for all the latest concerning Samu's state of health.
Stage one results:
- (1, Cadel Evans (BMC), 4:36:21)
- 33, Egoi Martínez, 0:04
- 51, Gorka Verdugo, s.t.
- 63, Mikel Landa, s.t.
- 122, Jorge Azanza, 0:42
- 156, Alan Pérez, 4:24
- 173, Ricardo García, 23:54
- 174, Peio Bilbao, s.t.
- 175, Samuel Sánchez, s.t.