Tour de France
A little more than halfway into the stage, Alberto...

Tinkoff backpedals on Bookwalter bash

Tinkoff sport director says Brent Bookwalter didn't cause Alberto Contador's crash after all

CHERBOURG-EN-CONTENTIN, France (VN) — Alberto Contador’s stage 1 crash was not caused by BMC’s Brent Bookwalter. It was the other way around.

Contador’s Tinkoff sport director Steven de Jongh had initially placed blamed on the American, but video footage of the incident proves otherwise. De Jongh later apologized to Bookwalter on Twitter.

Contador also confirmed that it was not Bookwalter who provoked his crash, telling VeloNews, “No, no [it wasn’t him], it something on the road that caused my front tire to slip.”

The crash came as crosswinds and tensions rose with just under 80km remaining in the Tour de France’s first stage. The Spanish Tour winner lost his front wheel around a right-hand corner and slammed to the pavement, rolling up and over a curb that divided the road. He ripped the shoulder off his jersey and was forced to swap out a shoe.

Bookwalter’s front wheel was taken out, and he slid across the raised road furniture on his back, still tangled in his bike.

“We went through a corner really fast, and there was that traffic island right on the exit, and the rider in front of me, who we later found out was Alberto, lost his front wheel,” Bookwalter said. “I had nowhere to go but straight into him.”

Both riders, as well as Sky’s Luke Rowe, who was also caught up in the tumble, remounted and finished the stage.

Contador crashed again on stage 2.

Bookwalter to continue

Bookwalter emerged stiffly from the bus Sunday morning. Range of motion in his hip is limited, so walking is difficult, but he appeared confident in continuing.

“Little bit of a rough night, but was able to sleep some,” he said. “So, just have to get out there and hopefully loosen up on the bike.

“I got back up [yesterday.] I was definitely suffering, but still was able to finish. I’ve been here in the Tour and other race, and I’m going to keep fighting on.”

Bookwalter is one of two American men headed to the road events at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in a month’s time. His injuries appear minor enough not to affect that effort.

“It was unfortunate, but that’s racing at the Tour in these high-stress moments,” he said.