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The Tour de France serves up dramatic moments even when you don’t expect it.
During Monday’s sprint stage to Sisteron, Frenchman Anthony Pérez of the Cofidis Crédits Solutions team crashed and abandoned the race with a possible fractured collarbone with 75 kilometers remaining. Crashes like this are commonplace during the Tour’s hectic opening week, however, Pérez’s fall carried far greater disappointment
Pérez was an early attacker during the stage and spent much of the day in a small breakaway alongside Jérôme Cousin and Benoit Cosnefroy.
Pérez chased KOM points for the Tour’s coveted polka-dot jersey, battling with Cosnefroy up the categorized climbs along the route. Pérez’s efforts were fruitful, and by the time he faded back to the peloton he had claimed enough points to take the jersey from Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale).
All Pérez needed to do was finish the race.
And then, disaster struck. Pérez suffered a puncture, and as he attempted to descend the Col des Lèques, he fell and suffered the race-ending injury. He was transported to a hospital at Digne-les-Bains to undergo an examination, including a CT scan, the race said.
“The initial diagnosis shows a broken rib fracture with possible pneumothorax,” said his Cofidis team in a statement. “Neither the Cofidis staff, nor the race’s medical team confirms the fracture of the clavicle.”
The dramatic crash marked a major setback for Cofidis, one of the longest-running squads in the Tour de France. The French Pro Continental squad is a fan favorite in France, even though it has struggled at the Tour. The squad’s last stage win at the Tour de France came in 2008, when Sylvan Chavanel took a breakaway win into Montluçon.
The team enters this year’s race with dual ambitions. It’s rising French GC star Guillaume Martin is targeting a top-10 finish after finishing 12th overall in 2019.
And, the squad’s new hire Elia Viviani is targeting sprint wins. He is amongst the top sprinters in the field at the 2020 Tour de France.
Martin and Viviani have big ambitions. But a polka-dot jersey by Pérez would have helped the team’s Tour de France ambitions, too.