Alberto Contador showed he was prepared to risk everything to win the Tour de France on Tuesday,crashing on the final descent as he tried to attack overall leader Chris Froome.
Team Sky rider Froome,who was on Contadors wheel,had to move round the Spaniard and briefly went off the road himself before both riders rejoined a group of favourites who crossed the line 11 minutes eight seconds behind stage-16 winner Rui Costa of Portugal.
He came through very quickly and struggled to keep control of his bike and crashed just in front of me, Froome told a news conference. I went off to the left slightly off the road so I had to unclip. He was taking too many risks down there. I personally think teams are getting desperate now,therefore taking uncalculated risks.
Froome still leads Dutch rider Bauke Mollema by 4:14 and Contador by 4:25 going into Wednesdays 32-km individual time trial between Embrun and Chorges.
Contador,who seemed unhurt after crossing the line,was unapologetic and promised there would be more attacks to come. It is not a motivation to scare the others but sometimes you have to do it. I will continue, the 2007 and 2009 Tour champion told reporters.
The incident was reminiscent of the 2003 Tour,when Spains Joseba Beloki,who was trailing Lance Armstrong in the overall standings,attacked on the same descent and crashed out of the race. Armstrong avoided Beloki and in the process went down the hill across a small field to stay safe.
Briton Froome is expected to extend his overall lead in the 17th stage before two gruelling stages in the Alps. The first of them features the very tricky descent from the Col de Sarenne sandwiched in between two climbs of lAlpe dHuez.
movistars costa on stage
Movistar rider Rui Costa won the stage after pulling away from the days breakaway group to tackle the second-category climb to the Col de Manse alone. He never looked back,staying ahead on the descent to win by 42 seconds. Christophe Riblon and Arnold Jeannesson were second and third respectively as France continued to wait for its first stage winner in this years Tour.