Alejandro Valverde is out of the Tour de France and likely to be out for the rest of the season after suffering a broken knee cap and a broken ankle in a crash in the opening time trial.
The Spaniard, who was expected to be a key domestique for teammate Nairo Quintana, crashed at high speed on a left-hand bend made slick by heavy rain in Düsseldorf.
As you can see by watching the video below, Valverde hit the deck on his left side, sliding across the road and into the bottom of a barrier. He sent off in an ambulance immediately, with the team suspecting a broken patella.
“He’s going to the hospital right now,” Movistar sports director Vincente Garcia said immediately after the stage.
“The biggest problem is his knee cap which seems to be broken and because of the crash against the barrier he also has a deep cut on his leg. There is a lot of blood in there so they had to clean it out before doing the x-ray to see whether he’s broken any other bones.”
The results of the X-ray were that Valverde had indeed suffered a broken knee cap, as well as breaking the talus bone in his ankle.
Doctors operated on the knee cap on Saturday night, with the timing of his return home still to be confirmed. Movistar doctors say that the injuries make it unlikely that Valverde will race again this season.
Garcia went on to say that he hoped the loss of Valverde, who has finished in the top 10 in GC for the previous four years, would not have any impact on the team’s support for Quintana.
“The show must go on, and we are still able to ride a very good Tour with eight riders.”