Four abandon as Froome avoids crash

Britain’s Chris Froome avoided a huge crash which caused four riders to abandon the Vuelta a Espana as Jasper Stuyven won stage eight in Murcia.

Kris Boeckmans is in an induced coma after suffering a concussion and facial fractures in the accident, which happened with around 50km left.

Tejay van Garderen, one of Froome’s main rivals, Ireland’s Dan Martin and Nacer Bouhanni also pulled out.

Froome finished with the favourites as Esteban Chaves retained the race lead.

Boeckmans’s Lotto-Soudal team said the Belgian was taken to a hospital in the southern region of Murcia.

They said the 28-year-old had suffered “severe facial trauma with several fractures” and “will probably need surgery”.

“Boeckmans also has a concussion, three broken ribs and had a bleeding in his lung,” the team added in a statement. “The doctors will now keep him in an induced coma for a few days.”

Thomas De Gendt

Boeckmans’ Lotto-Soudal team-mate Thomas De Gendt tweeted his reaction to the crash

Andre Greipel

German sprinter Andre Greipel sent his best wishes to Boeckmans

Colombian Chaves, who rides for Orica GreenEdge, was held up behind the crash but rejoined the main peloton and retained his 10-second lead over Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands.

Martin started the day in third, and his abandonment means Froome’s Team Sky team-mate Nicolas Roche is up to third overall, 36 seconds back.

Froome remains one minute 22 seconds behind Chaves and 33 seconds adrift of Alejandro Valverde, the highest placed rider chasing the overall victory.

Belgian Stuyven, who rides for Trek Factory Racing, won the sprint for the line at the end of the 182.5km race with Spain’s Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural) second and Frenchman Kevin Reza (FDJ) third.

Slovakian Peter Sagan, who had been among the favourites to win the stage, reacted angrily after his hopes were ended by a separate collision with one of the race organisers’ motorbikes around 10km from the finish.

The Tinkoff-Saxo rider gesticulated wildly, kicked his own bike and a motorbike, and then completed the stage more than five minutes behind the winner.

Sunday’s ninth of the 21 stages is a relatively flat 168km race from Torrevieja to Cumbre del Sol. Benitatxell – although there is a short but steep climb, featuring a 19% gradient, to the finish line.

Stage eight result:

1. Jasper Stuyven (Bel/Trek) 4hrs 06mins 05secs

2. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Caja Rural) Same time

3. Kevin Reza (Fra/FDJ)

4. Giovanni Visconti (Ita/Movistar)

5. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita/Team MTN)

6. Tosh Van der Sande (Bel/Lotto)

7. Julien Simon (Fra/Cofidis)

8. Pieter Serry (Bel/Etixx – Quick-Step)

9. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa/Movistar)

10. Nicolas Roche (Ire/Team Sky)


26. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) Same time

General classification after stage eight:

1. Esteban Chaves (Col/Orica) 31hrs 12mins 18secs

2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Giant) +10secs

3. Nicolas Roche (Ire/Team Sky) +36secs

4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +49secs

5. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa/Katusha) +56secs

6. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +57secs

7. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana) Same time

8. Daniel Moreno (Spa/Katusha) +1min 18secs

9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/AG2R) +1min 19secs

10. Mikel Nieve (Spa/Team Sky) +1min 21secs


11. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +1min 22secs

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