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Tour de France

Dauphiné crashes, abandons leave question marks for contenders ahead of Tour

Roglič, Kruijswijk and Buchmann all left injured and out of key tuneup race with less than two weeks until Tour challenge.

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For many riders planning on starting the Tour de France later this month, coming through Saturday’s crash-marred Critérium du Dauphiné stage unscathed will seem a victory in itself.

Primož Roglič, Steven Kruijswijk (both Jumbo-Visma), and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) were among those left injured and in a dramatic day in France, with Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) also hitting the deck though coming through with only minor wounds.

While Kruijswijk and Buchmann both abandoned immediately after they crashed on the opening descent of the day, Roglič rode out the rest of the stage to maintain his GC lead having tumbled to the ground mid-way through the race. He came to the finish covered in cuts and bruises, with the team stating his condition would be monitored overnight.

Jumbo-Visma confirmed Sunday morning that the Slovenian would not start the final stage of the Dauphiné Sunday, saying “the evolution of his injuries will determine the plans for the upcoming races.” No further detail was provided, leaving a question mark hanging over the Slovenian star’s Tour de France challenge later this month.

With Roglič’s teammate Kruijswijk confirmed to have dislocated his shoulder, the Dutchman is quite likely out of the Tour. Buchmann suffered what his team described as a “large hematoma,” a significant bruising that could dent his fine-tuning ahead of this year’s Grand Boucle.

Meanwhile, in Italy, Bora-Hansgrohe star Max Schachmann was hit by a car when racing toward the finish of Il Lombardia, coming away with a fractured collarbone.

2020 Criterium du Dauphine stage 4
Roglič took pause in his team car immediately after the crash though soon got back on his bike. Photo: James Startt.

Roglič went into stage 4 of the Dauphiné Saturday morning holding the race’s leader’s jersey and a position at the very top of the list of favorites for this summer’s Tour. The Slovenian crashed in unknown circumstances midway through the stage and staggered into a teamcar, looking ready to abandon.

However, the Vuelta a España champion rallied, and was towed back to the action by teammate Wout van Aert. While Roglič finished the stage without losing time, he was nursing road rash across his knee, shoulder, and both hips.

“It was a hard crash for Primoz. He was a bit groggy at first. Luckily, he was able to recover quickly and he pushed through the pain,” team sports director Grischa Niermann said after the stage. “We need to assess the injuries tonight and see how things are going in the morning.”

The Dutch team confirmed the worse Sunday morning, leaving their team in tatters with two leaders out of three now out of the Dauphiné and possibly also out of the Tour de France.

A dislocated shoulder leaves Kruijsijk's Tour start unlikely. Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images.
A dislocated shoulder leaves Kruijsijk’s Tour start unlikely. Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images.

While Jumbo-Visma is yet to confirm the full extent of Roglič’s injuries and his status for the Tour, his teammate Kruijswijk could be away from competition for some time after dislocating his shoulder. The Dutchman crashed descending the Plan Bois, just 30km into the race, with Buchmann and Pinot also coming to grief on the same stretch.

Kruijswijk’s teammate Tom Dumoulin questioned the use of  the potholed and gravelly Plan Bois descent, stating it “was a disgrace that that descent was in a race” and that it “does not belong in cycling.” Pinot likened the road to that of a mountain bike trail, adding that “it was impossible for a bike race to pass on a road like that.”

Just a few hours after Lennard Kämna took victory in the Dauphiné’s dramatic Alpine stage, Jakob Fuglsang was racing toward Il Lombardia victory in Como, Italy.

Bora-Hansgrohe’s budding talent Schachmann was in the final five kilometers of the race and headed toward a top-10 finish when a car turned onto the parcours. The German champion collided heavily with the stray vehicle, and despite fracturing his collarbone, struggled to the finish line to claim seventh place.

Schachmann is slated to be starting the Tour as a stage hunter for Bora-Hansgrohe and key workhorse for Buchmann. With the Tour due to start in 13 days, the 26-year-old’s start is now in question. The UCI is launching an investigation into how the incident happened.

Bernal abandon precautionary, insists Team Ineos

Bernal had looked a little off the pace in the final kick in stage 3 and was confirmed by teammates to have been suffering. Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Bernal had looked a little off the pace in the final kick in stage 3 and was confirmed by teammates to have been suffering. Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Tour de France champion Egan Bernal abandoned Saturday’s stage before the race even rolled out of Ugine due to a back complaint.

Team sport director Gabriel Rasch insisted that the move was a precaution to ensure that the young Colombian was tip-top for his yellow jersey defense.

“He had a back injury that he’s had before as well, so we wanted to make sure that we had enough time between here and the start of the Tour to treat it properly and make sure he’s 100 percent for the start in Nice,” said Rasch. “He rode back to the hotel and he could have done the stage today for sure.”

Bernal’s abandon meant that three of last year’s Tour top-four finishers and the reining Vuelta a España champion will all not start Sunday’s final Dauphiné stage out of Megève. It will now be a race against time for them to convalesce in time for this year’s Grand Départ, August 29.

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