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July 9, 2015 – Zdenek Stybar said he had mixed feelings after winning Thursday’s Tour de France sixth stage but seeing teammate Tony Martin crash out of the race. Martin suffered a broken collarbone after hitting the tarmac in a crash in the final kilometer of the 189.5km stage from Abbeville to Le Havre.
His Etixx-Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere later told Europe 1 that the 30-year-old German was out of the race. He had to be helped over the line by a couple of teammates as he couldn’t hold his handlebars — he was instead clutching his injured shoulder.
“It’s absolutely a double feeling right now. It’s a really amazing feeling, I don’t really get it yet that I have won a stage of the Tour de France,” said 29-year-old Czech Stybar. “For me, for the moment, it’s a really amazing feeling, but on the other hand I feel really sorry for Tony.”
“For Tony it must be really crazy because he lost the (opening stage) timetrial, which he was focusing on, for five seconds. Then he missed out on the yellow jersey on the next two stages for one second and then took it on a stage he was never expecting. He won a stage he wouldn’t dare to dream about and then crashed today. For him, it must be crazy but from what I’ve seen here is the Tour de France, it’s crazy. You don’t know what will happen around each corner.”
Martin initially seemed defiant despite tweeting about his collarbone from hospital. “Collarbone is broken. We will discuss further steps,” he said.
Earlier he told France Television: “It’s unlucky, I don’t even remember very well how it happened. I think I touched the wheel of the rider in front of me. “It’s a shame but that’s the Tour.” Lefevere said the loss would impact on Etixx’s hopes of winning Sunday’s team timetrial — Martin is a three-time world timetrial champion.
“The team timetrial was a big objective but without Tony Martin, there’s no hope,” Lefevere told AFP. As Martin fell he crashed into Frenchman Warren Barguil who hit reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali, both also hitting the deck.
Briton Chris Froome, the 2013 champion, and fellow overall contender Nairo Quintana also got caught up in the melee. “Falling like that, 500 metres from the line in a climb, I don’t understand why it happened,” said Nibali. “It’s ok, I hit my shoulder and leg, and the bottom of my back, but when you hit the deck it’s always unpleasant.
“We came from the left to the right, I fell on (Chris) Froome who was on my right and then Barguil fell on me I think, I’m not sure.”
Froome tweeted: “Managed to get through with minor graze to the knee,” said Froome on Twitter. “Hope everyone involved, especially @tonymartin85, is okay!”
Quintana was also relatively unscathed. “I was like three places behind Tony Martin and the crash that took him down also affected me”, said the Colombian. “I have a superficial wound. Now in the heat of the moment I don’t feel any pain. I hope it’s really nothing and that my elbow feels ok tomorrow (Friday) morning. People at home can feel calm about this.”