Team Sky star and Tour de France winner Chris Froome was forced to withdraw from the 2015 Vuelta a Espana with a broken foot, an injury he suffered in a crash during Stage 11.
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Froome Reveals Fractured Navicular, Abandons Vuelta
Thursday, September 3
One day after suffering a heavy crash early in the Vuelta stage to Els Cortals d'Encamp, Froome took to Twitter to inform his fans that scans at the hospital revealed a broken bone in his foot. The injury effectively ends his bid to become the first cyclist to do the Tour/Vuelta double since Bernard Hinault in 1978.
He said: "Scans this morning confirm fractured navicular. End of the Vuelta for me."
The 30-year-old Brit, who won the Tour de France in dominant fashion earlier this season, had struggled early in the Vuelta and crashed just a few kilometers into Wednesday's stage, a brutal 138-kilometer ride that included six categorised climbs.
Froome explained what happened via Twitter, saying: "Knocked sideways into a barrier & stone wall today. Further scans in the morning but start unlikely as I can’t walk without crutches."
Here's video footage of the aftermath of the crash:
To his credit, Froome got back on his bike and rejoined the peloton, but as soon as Astana started launching attacks on the steep climbs in the Pyrenees, he was dropped. He lost over eight minutes to new race leader Fabio Aru, all but ending his chances of winning the Vuelta.
Like so many before him, Froome found out why it's been almost 40 years since we've seen a rider win the Tour and Vuelta in the same calendar year. The two Grand Tours rank among the toughest races in the world, and both take place during the summer, giving riders very little time to recover.
He struggled to keep up with the fresher riders during the first week of racing, an ominous sign with the high mountains looming, and even at full health, Froome's chances of winning this year's Vuelta were slim.
The Brit was unlikely to play a starring role in this year's World Championships in Richmond, Virginia, which suits the puncheurs, so the injury won't derail the rest of his season too much. He'll have plenty of time to rest and heal during the winter, before starting his preparations for the 2016 season.