Rafal Majka abandons Tour de France 2017 after stage nine crash
The Pole crashed badly on the descent of the Col de la Biche on stage nine of the Tour de France and has chosen not to continue
The two times King of the Mountains winner entered the Tour as joint leader of Bora-Hansgrohe with world champion Peter Sagan, and was aiming for a personal best general classification result.
But Majka and his team have decided he can’t continue on with the race after crashing on the descent of the Col de la Biche on stage nine, bringing down a number of other riders including Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas.
The Pole suffered numerous contusions in the crash but no fractures, however said he couldn’t consider continuing with the Tour as he can now “hardly breath”, despite soldiering on and finishing the rest of the stage on Sunday.
“I have pain everywhere today, but I was lucky to have no fractures at all,” Majka said.
“I cannot explain exactly what happened when I crashed. I didn’t break or anything, but my front wheel slipped away. Also Risto, our mechanic, almost fell when he arrived with the spare bike. There must have been some oil or something similar on the road.
“However, after the crash I suffered a lot. I want to thank my whole Bora-Hansgrohe team, everybody waited for me first, but we told Emanuel [Buchmann] to go and save our chances in the GC, then Jay [McCarthy] was with me and brought me up to the next bigger group. Also thanks to Michal Kwiatkowski who helped me in the end.”
“After this heavy crash, it does not make any sense to keep on fighting. I can hardly breath because of the pain. We had to take a wise decision, for my health, but also for the rest of the season.
“I’ll take some rest now, then I will start preparing myself for the rest of the season.”
Majka fell on the first of three hors category climbs on the 181.5km route of stage nine with well over 100km left to ride.
He continued on and ascended the Grand Colombier and the Mont du Chat on his way to the finish in Chambéry, where his compatriot Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) helped him to the finish line over 36 minutes down on stage winner Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac).
The loss of Majka will come as a big blow to Bora, who lost Peter Sagan to disqualification after stage four.
“[This is] Another big blow for us at this Tour, sports director Enrico Poitschke said.
“We took one stage with Peter, but still the luck is not on our side at all. Now the most important thing is that Rafal can fully recover and take some rest. His focus is now fully on the Vuelta.”