CYCLING star Alberto Contador’s Tour de France hopes are in tatters after the Spaniard crashed for the second time in as many days on Sunday night.
Contador, one of the favourites for the race three days ago, is now a whopping $31 with CrownBet.
On the stage two ride from Saint-Lo, the 33-year-old came off his bike about 60 kilometres into the 183 kilometre chase, costing himself some 48 seconds.
“I lost more time than I had hoped to lose,” Contador said after the race.
“I suffered another crash, I hit the handlebars and I was hurt on the other side from yesterday (after crashing on stage one).
“I must stay calm, not lose morale, I’m still standing but I have been really touched.
“The Tour has really started on the wrong footing.
“I’m not happy at all. It’s cycling.
“I must see if I can make up some time in the Pyrenees and the Alps, see what I can do.
“I’m physically hampered.
“I cannot pedal as I would like to as a result of crashes.
”The important thing is to keep my morale, not fall apart, which is sometimes complicated.
“Both legs are very touched.“
The two-time winner of the tour has plenty of work to do, but we won’t be the ones to write off the champ.
Australian hope Richie Porte is also $31 after he suffered a setback of his own – a puncture that cost him a whopping 1.45.
That mishap came just five kilometres from the finish line.
“It’s a disaster. I don’t know what really you can do – just move on I suppose,” Porte said.
“The Tour is far from over.
“It’s quite a hard one to take but at the end of the day I guess we just pretend like it never happened and wait for the mountains to come.
“Maybe in the third week if we keep it all together I might be able to go after a stage too.”
Defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) is the raging odds-on favourite at $1.85 with William Hill.
Last year’s runner-up Nairo Quintana (Movistar) is $2.25 with the same bookie, with no other rider under $11.
Both are 14 seconds off the pace, in fifth and seventh positions respectively, and are clearly within striking distance early on.
Froome – arguably the best rider in the world – said neither Contador nor Porte could be written off, despite their setbacks.
“It’s unfortunate for Alberto and Richie, but it goes with the territory in these kind of stages,” Froome told reporters after the race.
“That’s why we really try to make a big effort to be up front.
“Guys like Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe are up there protecting me on days like these and keeping me at the front to give me the best chance to stay out of trouble and out of harm’s way.
“Those are pretty significant gaps, but it’s too early to rule anyone out of contention.
“The Tour will be won and lost by minutes sometimes, so these gaps are still insignificant.
“My main objective was to stay out of trouble and stretch my legs.
“I think we can tick that box, and thankfully, there were no major issues.
“I felt all right coming into the finish. The legs feel good. Let’s see.
“We’re still a few days away from the big mountains, but for now everything is feeling like it should.”
Slovak Peter Sagan claimed Sunday’s second stage, but is $501 to win the Tour.
For now, though, he wears the yellow jersey for the first time.
“I’m very surprised I won because I was thinking there were still two guys out front and then I finished and I found out I won. I’m very happy,” Sagan said following his stage win.
“I’m already wearing a nice jersey (referring to his world champion rainbow bands) so yellow is very nice for me.”
The Tour continued Monday night with a 223.5km third stage from Granville to Angers.
The race features 21 stages that wind through France, crossing into Spain, Andorra and Switzerland, and conclude with a run to the Champs Elysees on Sunday, July 24.
Tour de France winner market
Chris Froome – $1.85
Nairo Quintana – $2.25
Fabio Aru – $11
Thibaut Pinot – $19
Tejay van Garderen – $21
Alberto Contador – $23
Richie Porte – $31
Vincenzo Nibali – $34
Romain Bardet – $51
Tom Dumoulin – $51
Alejandro Valverde – $67
Geraint Thomas – $67
Mikel Landa – $81
Pierre Rolland – $81
Roman Kreuziger – $81
Bauke Mollema – $101
Warren Barguil – $101
Julian Alaphilippe – $101
Daniel Martin – $101
Joaquim Rodriguez – $151
Rafal Majka – $201
Tony Martin – $501
Peter Sagan – $501
Alexis Vuillermoz – $501
Odds provided by WilliamHill.com