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Vincenzo Nibali taken down by spectator on Alpe d’Huez, abandons Tour

Italian loses 13 seconds to stage winner and yellow jersey wearer Geraint Thomas

As Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) took his second consecutive stage win of the Tour de France on the famed Alpe d’Huez, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) mounted a furious chase after crashing to the pavement. In the final kilometres of the climb, the Italian was knocked to the ground by a spectator losing contact with the race leaders.

Following the stage, Nibali was taken to the Grenoble hospital with a suspected broken vertebra. Upon further analysis, it was confirmed he had broken a T10 vertebra and did not start Stage 13 of the Tour de France.

As flares were ignited by fans on the side of the road, Nibali was alongside the leaders but as they entered the cloud, Nibali’s handlebars clipped a spectators camera strap. Television cameras show the leaders together until they fade out of view. Nibali is then seen lying on the pavement.

Nibali put in a valiant effort to chase back to the leaders. Chris Froome (Team Sky), Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), Romain Bardet (Ag2R-La Mondial) and Thomas took up the entire road as they looked at each other partially neutralizing the action to wait for Nibali. The favourites would eventually attack each other in the finale when Mikel Landa (Movistar) caught back up. Nibali just fell short of making contact with the leaders losing 13 seconds to Thomas. Nibali’s ride to get back was a monumental effort and one of the great rides of the day.

In his post-race interview, yellow jersey wearer Thomas reported riding over Nibali’s wheel when the 2014 Tour champion went down. Nibali was taken to hospital where it was confirmed he had broken his vertebra.

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