Trek-Segafredo rider unable to avoid falling Cavendish in Vittel, Contador ready for Planche des Belles Filles
Photo: John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) checking the damage of the crash
Avoiding the first of two crashes inside the final kilometres of stage 4 at the Tour de France, John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) had nowhere to go when Mark Cavendish fell in front of him with 150 metres to race.
While Peter Sagan was disqualified for his role in the accident and Cavendish left the race with a broken shoulder, Degenkolb escaped with no serious injury.
"Before the big crash from Cavendish, there was one crash before and that's why I was a little in the back. I was just coming back to the front of the lead group for the sprint, and Cav was in front of me, and I couldn’t avoid him by jumping over him," said Degenkolb who had no choice but to ride over the Dimension Data rider.
"I went fully over the handlebars, and I had a pretty bad crash. In the end, luckily, there is nothing broken, no fractures. But still I have a very painful right shoulder, and we will see how it goes tomorrow if I can be on the bike. I will give everything and hope to continue, of course."
Degenkolb was able to remount his bike with teammates Markel Irizar and Koen De Kort accompanying over the line in 157th place, 2:15 minutes after Arnaud Demare had raised his arms in triumph.
Trek-Segafredo's general classification rider Alberto Contador found himself slowed by the crash as he explained he told his teammates that he was correctly anticipating an incident.
"We were super well placed and with about 18 kilometers to go the road widened and then narrowed and had areas of gravel where you didn't know if it was still a road," said Contador. "That's why I told the team to come more behind to maintain a distance of security. The only pity was that in the end, John has fallen in the sprint. I hope he can continue and it's nothing serious because he's a great support for me in the flat."
Contador and Trek-Segafredo will now turn their attention to the stage 5 ascent of La Planche des Belles Filles, a climb Contador is yet to race after missing the 2012 Tour and then crashing out in 2014 before hitting its slopes.
"I could say more [about the climb] if I did not crash in 2014 just before the start of this climb that ended the stage and I had to leave because of my injury," he said. "I think it's a pretty spectacular climb because it's short, but with a lot of slope. It is already beginning to be hot, and in the first mountain stage, there are always surprises. I hope to feel well and depending on how I go, I'll decide the tactics to follow. For now, the important thing is to recover and reach this last climb as fresh as possible."
Looking at his overall rivals, Contador explained he expects three-time Tour winner Chris Froome to make a move and add to his 2012 victory at La Planche des Belles Filles.
"I think if Froome is well he will try to get more differences. He has a very powerful team, they demonstrated this in the time trial, and he is a rider who always likes to make differences in the first mountain stage. If he has strength, he will try something for sure," he said.