Alberto Contador abandons Tour de France on ninth stage
Spaniard had been suffering with injuries after two crashes; team confirms he woke with a fever on Sunday
Spain’s Alberto Contador listens to a member of his team driving next to him as he rides during the ninth stage of the of the Tour de France. The two-time winner quit the race later on the stage. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP
Alberto Contador has abandoned the Tour de France. The two-time Tour winner, one of the pre-race favourites, climbed into the Tinkoff team car after 100 kilometres of the 184.5km ninth stage between Vielha Val d’Aran and Andorre Arcalis.
The Spaniard had been suffering with injuries suffered in crashes on stages one and two, and his team said he had awoken with a fever on Sunday morning.
Contador, who won the Tour in 2007 and 2009, had lost time in the general classification battle in the wake of his injuries.
As Chris Froome moved into the yellow jersey with victory on Saturday’s stage eight, Contador conceded a further one minute and 41 seconds to drop to 20th in general classification, three minutes and 12 seconds down.
There had been little sign of Contador suffering early on a stage which started in his home nation, and he briefly attacked on the first categorised climb of the day, the Port de la Bonaigua.
But once back in the peloton he dropped back to the team car several times before climbing off during the second climb of the day, the Port del Canto.
Contador crashed on to his right side on stage one, and then on to his left side on stage two, also sustaining a calf injury which his team said made it difficult for him to ride out of the saddle on climbs.
After losing time on Saturday’s stage, he said: “My body isn’t responding as I would have liked. These crashes are catching up with me.
“It’s terrible to have crashed like this twice in the first week and to have lost so much time after working so hard to be here. It’s cycling. Danger is everywhere. Believe me, I did the best I can.”
Contador’s team-mate Roman Kreuziger sits 12th in the overall standings, 34 seconds behind Froome. The team also has world champion Peter Sagan bidding to win the points leaders’ green jersey for a fifth straight year.