Friday, August 29, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Nibali recaptures the yellow jersey at Tour de France

By
From page B8 | July 15, 2014 |

PLANCHER-LES-MINES, France — After just 10 stages, the two pre-race favorites have crashed out of the Tour de France. And Vincenzo Nibali is wasting little time in showing that he’s now the man to beat.

On Monday, the Italian narrowly dodged a spill by Alberto Contador that left the two-time Tour champion with a fractured shin. Nibali went on to barrel past a panting breakaway rider to win a fog- and rain-coated, up-and-down Stage 10 and recover the yellow jersey that he had lost only a day earlier.

It didn’t come easy.

“This was the hardest stage I’ve ever done in a Grand Tour, with seven climbs and so many crashes,” said Nibali.

Contador’s mishap has given this 101st edition of cycling’s greatest event a dubious distinction of being the first in recent memory to force out its two top stars to crash injuries. Five stages earlier, reigning champ Chris Froome quit with a broken wrist and hand sustained in a string of spills.

As the race enters its first rest day on Tuesday, Nibali — who has already won the Spanish Vuelta and Italian Giro — looks on his way to winning his first Tour with just under two weeks to go.

When Stage 10 began, many race pundits — and Nibali himself — expected Contador to try to erase his 2 1/2 minute deficit to the Italian by attacking on the ride to the finish atop La Planche des Belles Filles ski resort. As FDJ.FR team manager Marc Madiot put it: “This is the day for Contador to put Nibali into trouble.”

Instead, it was Contador having the problems.

The 31-year-old Spaniard took a hard tumble in a high-speed downhill run in the Vosges mountains. After riding about 18 kilometers (12 miles) in pain, the Tinkoff-Saxo Bank team leader finally gave up. He put his foot down, got off his bike, wiped his eyes and got into a team car. An X-ray later showed a shin fracture.

Nibali said he had been ready for a “duel.”

“I already had a good lead and I was ready to fight in a big duel with Alberto,” he said. “Crashes are part of the sport. I’ve crashed myself many times in the past too. It’s a pity that the Tour has lost two major protagonists.”

The Astana team leader regained the lead from France’s Tony Gallopin — who had taken the yellow jersey off him a day earlier — in the 161.5-kilometer (100-mile) trek from eastern Mulhouse to the steep finish at La Planche des Belles Filles.

With a final burst of speed in the last two kilometers (1.2 miles), Nibali overtook breakaway rider Joaquim Rodriguez. By the end, Nibali crossed 15 seconds ahead of France’s Thibaut Pinot in second and Spain’s Alejandro Valverde in third, a further five seconds behind.

The Italian recovers the yellow jersey that he wore for seven days after he won the second stage in the hills of northern England. Overall, he leads Richie Porte of Australia by 2 minutes, 23 seconds, and Valverde, who is third, 2:47 back.

“My legs felt good. I knew the last three kilometers were the toughest, and that’s when I accelerated,” said Nibali, sucking his thumb in a tribute to his young daughter as he finished. “I thought Rodriguez would follow but he seemed to have trouble.”

A string of crash injuries has meant that the Tour will have a first-time winner this year. Andy Schleck, the 2010 Tour winner, dropped out before Stage 4 following a crash injury a day earlier, though the Luxembourg rider said before the race that he wasn’t in good enough shape to contend this year.

According to his spokesman, Contador said he wasn’t exactly sure what caused the crash — which happened while he was speeding downhill at over 70 kph (about 40 mph) about halfway through the stage. Contador began the stage in ninth place overall — 4 minutes, 8 seconds back of Gallopin.

“He explained to me just a few minutes ago that he (hit) a stone or a hole in the road or something — and he crashed,” Contador spokesman Jacinto Vidarte told The Associated Press by phone during the stage. “He couldn’t do anything about it.”

TV images showed thick streams of blood pouring from Contador’s right knee after the crash, his hip was scraped up, and the back of his jersey torn. Team director Bjarne Riis rushed over and bandaged the knee. Philippe Mauduit, a team sporting director, said initial X-rays showed that a Contador had a fractured shin.

Contador then sat back down on the grass bank and changed his left shoe as riders weaved through the narrow gap between him and his bicycle. After several minutes, he got back in the saddle of a new bike, and three teammates who had dropped back escorted him to try to make up lost time as the peloton pulled away up the Col du Platzerwaswel mountain pass.

The Spaniard rode for about another half-hour, clearly in pain, and finally stopped, got off, wiped his eyes and climbed into a team car.

Nibali said he was riding next to Contador, and almost went down himself.

“I feared that the Tour might be over for me too,” the Italian said. “There were a lot of risks (Monday), and I’m really sorry for Alberto Contador. I was right behind him and luckily I was able to avoid him. It was on a descent. The road wasn’t in great condition.

“I don’t know what happened, but it was just incredible,” said Nibali. “He fell right in front of me and was rolling on the floor. We must have been going about 60 kilometers per hour.”

There were crashes elsewhere.

Italian rider Michele Scarponi — Nibali’s Astana teammate — sustained a heavy crash coming down from the penultimate climb up to Col des Chevreres. He misjudged a turn and thudded into a protective crash barrier, flipping over his bike and colliding with a spectator, who was unhurt. Scarponi was able to continue riding.

British rider Geraint Thomas also crashed but kept racing with blood pouring out of his left elbow.

The race resumes Wednesday with a slightly hilly 187.5-kilometer (116.3-mile) route from Besancon to Oyonnax in eastern France. Stage 11 will feature four moderate climbs toward the end.

The three-week race ends on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 27.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Saving Putah Creek: a quiet concert at sunset

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Mr. Dolcini goes to Washington

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Winton to be feted for her many years of community work

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Davis Innovation Center team fields questions

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Researchers solve mystery of Death Valley’s moving rocks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    California extends review of $25B delta plan

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Celebrate the Senior Center at Sept. 9 luncheon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Equestrian eventing competition slated

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Forum explores local mental health services

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Kids can sign up for a library card and get a free book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit Science Center: Volunteers supercharge summer camp

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

     
     
    Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts open house

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Local group charts a year’s worth of beauty in flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Free blood pressure screenings offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Name Droppers: UCD honors two of its own

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Books, conversation and poetry at Logos

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Forum

    Let’s sell the MRAP on eBay

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Seeing both sides of ‘tank’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    What if we need MRAP?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    How could tank be helpful?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: C2

    Don’t sentence our police to death

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C2, 1 Comment

     
    Will Davis see river water?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    Travel buddy is getting too fat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Forget the score; focus on the energy brought by Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Returning seniors, new faces lead promising DHS links squad

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devil golfers return from Scotland with smiles on their faces

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils scrimmage with Sac

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD-Stanford: the clock is down to counting the minutes

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Wire briefs: Aces cruise past Cats at Raley

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B6

    Sports briefs: DHS girls fall by the slimmest of net margins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘The November Man’: Who can be trusted?

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    B Street’s ‘The Ladies Foursome’ is aces

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Technology makes a great car better

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: C1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Elaine Dracia Greenberg

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Margarita Elizondo

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics