Team Sky got a double-dose of bad news in Sunday’s dramatic climbing stage to Avoriaz.
Team captain Bradley Wiggins’ chances of a podium finish took a blow when he forfeited 1:45 to the favorites and tumbled to 14th place in the overall standings, now sitting 2:45 behind race leader Cadel Evans of BMC.
The team confirmed also confirmed on Monday that Aussie stage-hunter Simon Gerrans is out of the race with a broken arm. Gerrans, winner of a Tour stage in 2008, crashed hard early in Sunday’s stage. Gerrans managed to finish the stage, but X-rays taken confirmed the fracture.
“Obviously, I am very disappointed. I’ve had a sort of Tour de France you’d rather forget,” Gerrans said on the team’s website. “I am absolutely gutted that I am not going to be able to help the other guys over the next two weeks.”
Gerrans had crashed hard twice. The first time on the slippery stage to Spa and a second time the following day, spills that left him with several stitches, a black eye, a bruised jaw and a broken arm.
Wiggins, meanwhile, lost nearly any chance of improving on his surprise fourth-place finish from 2009.
The former pursuit specialist looked strong over the Col de la Ramaz, putting his Sky teammates on the front to set the pace on the middle part of the climb. The heat and fatigue settled in on the final charge up Avoriaz, however, and Wiggins lost contact with leaders about midway up the climb.
Teammate Thomas Lovkvist helped tow him across the line in 19th at 1:45 back.
“I felt really good for the most part of the stage, especially on the second to last climb (Ramaz), then the climb toward Avoriaz, I was cooked,” Wiggins told L’Equipe. “I didn’t want to go into the red and completely explode. The goal then was to limit my losses. That was all I could do.”