Tour de France 2014: Xabi Zandio crash adds to Sky woes as Andre Greipel ends Marcel Kittel's sprint dominance

German rider takes victory on the 194km stage between Arras and Reims

with the tour de france

Twenty-four hours after losing Chris Froome to one crash, Team Sky’s woes in the Tour de France showed no sign of letting up as another of their riders, the veteran all-rounder Xabi Zandio, abandoned because of a heavy fall.

On today’s fast-paced stage across the plains of northern France – the type where a single moment’s inattention or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time could incur the highest penalty – the 37-year-old Spaniard found himself unwittingly entangled in a crash around 80 kilometres from the finish in Reims.

Already involved in the crash with Froome on Wednesday but able to continue, today French TV images showed Zandio slumped in the road clearly dazed and in no fit state to race. A few minutes later, race radio confirmed tha the had abandoned the Tour, with medical bulletins later saying the Spaniard had been taken to hospital in an ambulance, suffering from a back injury and a suspected broken rib.

Reportedly a last-minute call-up to Sky’s Tour roster, Zandio’s equally early exit means only seven of the nine Sky riders who left Leeds last Saturday remain in the race.

While Sky leader Richie Porte came through the series of crashes unscathed and with his eighth place intact, the British outfit were not the only squad to lose a top team worker.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Jesus Hernandez, one of Alberto Contador’s most valued, also quit the race in an ambulance with concussion, while points leader and top contender Peter Sagan was another of dozens of riders to fall.

 

Observed race leader Vincenzo Nibali: “The problem was that lots of riders were already feeling bad after Wednesday’s stage” – where Froome abandoned and numerous other riders fell on the dangerous cobbled farm tracks of northern France.

“The roads were wet and slippery again, and the wind made it very difficult, too. I was lucky I didn’t fall off. It was a very fraught day.”

The high pace and splits in the peloton late on also seemed to catch out multiple-stage winner Marcel Kittel, with the German’s Giant-Shimano team losing control of the 70-strong front peloton and Kittel – himself sporting a nasty injury on his left leg – seen drifting out of contention in the final kilometre.

“We screwed up,” said Kittel’s team captain, Roy Curvers – responsible for organising Giant-Shimano’s build-up for the finale – on specialist website biciclismo. “Five kilometres from the finish we had to be in the front twenty, otherwise it’s very hard to have a chance.

Get Adobe Flash player 

“We weren’t there in the right place, we got split up and everything got complicated. What happened? I don’t know. We’ve got to talk this one through in the team hotel tonight.”

One German rider who appeared to have responded well to criticism was André Greipel, whose faultlessly timed, very long final acceleration gave the Lotto-Belisol pro his first stage win of this Tour.

Slated by his team manager after London’s stage three for failing to stay with his team’s support workers in the finale – as a result of which Greipel finished a lowly 23rd – the German national champion admitted that when it came to taking his 14th win of the season at Reims, his manager’s sharp words had had the desired effect. “Of course nobody likes criticism, but I haven’t lost any confidence,” he said with a wry grin before half-joking. “Maybe criticism is good sometimes.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
News
i100
Life and Style
Great minds like Einstein don't think alike
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds This i...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power