Former race leader and General Classification favorite Nairo Quintana of the Movistar team crashed early in Stage 11 of the 69th Vuelta a España cycling race and had to withdraw with a broken shoulder blade.
Quintana crashed hard in Stage Ten, injuring his hip and ankle, but started Stage 11 despite his injuries. After his second crash he couldn’t continue; the 2014 Giro d’Italia winner had to abandon his hopes for a second Grand Tour win this season.
The 24-year-old Colombian climber was leading the race when he crashed in the Stage Ten time trial on Tuesday, losing. three-and-a-half minutes and any real chance of winning the event. The crash happened after Quintana apparently lost concentration while adjusting his shoes on a dangerous descent; he missed the line into a corner and slammed a guardrail, tumbling over the handlebars and slamming down on his back.
Wednesday’s Stage 11 featured a Category 1 summit finish, the toughest of the race so far, where the Movistar rider had some chance to regain lost time.
The stage started with intense competition as different groups of riders tried to break away from the peloton. The peloton was nervous, with many riders trying to push ahead through small gaps. A big crash in the back of the field after only 14 minutes of racing wiped out several riders, including Quintana and BMC’s Steve Morabito.
With Quintana out, 2009 Vuelta winner Alejandro Valverde will take over as Movistar’s team leader.
AG2R’s Maxime Bouet and FDJ’s Thibault Pinot also retired early in Stage 11.