‘Gutted’ Chris Froome’s hopes of a Tour-Vuelta double are over after the Team Sky man was forced to abandon the Vuelta a Espana through injury.
Froome had crashed early in stage 11, a brutal affair in the Andorran mountains, before slipping down the overall standings and looking in a lot of pain after the finish.
And an MRI scan has revealed he fractured the navicular bone in his foot in the incident, leaving him with little choice but to quit the race – the second time in his last four Grand Tours he has had to leave through injury.
“I’m really gutted to be leaving the race but the injuries that I sustained on yesterday’s stage were too much to continue,” he said.
“I hit my right side heavily and the main impact went on my right foot. I was desperate to dig in and finish the stage and my team-mates did brilliantly to get me through it, but as soon as I got off the bike I couldn’t put any weight on my right side.
“An MRI scan has shown that I have fractured navicular bone in my right foot, so now I’ll work with our medical team on making a full recovery.”
Froome had initially chased back to the main group, catching them on the day’s first of six climbs, but DS Dario Cioni believes once the adrenaline wore off, the pain was responsible for him slipping back.
“After the crash it looked like Chris had gone down hard and we were all quite worried. But he was the first to say he wanted to push on,” he explained.
“He made his way back to the bunch on the first climb and even afterwards he was saying that he felt good.
“I think once the adrenaline from the crash wore off a bit the pain increased and he began to drop back. It was a really brave effort to get over those climbs to the finish, even though he was in a lot of pain. It just showed that he wanted to give himself every chance to stay in the race.”
With Mikel Nieve now the team’s leader on the road, after climbing to eighth overall, 1’58” back from race leader Fabio Aru (Astana), Sky’s remaining riders will be rallying behind the Spaniard instead.