A handful of unfortunate events made for a significant time loss for Nairo Quintana (Movistar) right at the start of the 2018 Tour de France.
In what had previously been a quite calm stage one -201km from Noirmoutier to Fontenay-le-Comte-, the Colombian suffered several setbacks which took him out of the main group into the very last kilometers.
“I went into a curb very close to the safety zone of the last three kilometres. Both wheels were broken and I couldn’t continue like that,” Quintana said.
“That’s how things go in cycling. There’s nothing to do but to carry on and console myself with the fact that Froome also lost time to the rest of the favourites and that he only took a few seconds out of me.”
“There was a lot of tension, as is always the case in the Tour,” Valverde said. “There were a lot of crashes, punctures, a bit of everything. It was all very complicated, very fast, very dangerous. In the end, each of us tried to do the best we could. Some teammates dropped back for him but Mikel and I had to carry on.”
“The worst thing was that Jose Joaquin Rojas, the guy we had designated to be there right behind Nairo and give his bike up if anything happened, was himself caught up in the big crash three kilometres earlier,” said team manager Eusebio Unzué.
“The problem is that we in the team cars were very far back because the peloton had split after that earlier crash. Nairo was trying to fix the bike with the neutral service and they changed both wheels but it wasn’t going well so we changed the bike when we reached him in the car.”