Sergio Higuita’s debut Tour de France has ended in tears, as the Colombian champion was forced to abandon after a pair of crashes in the opening phases of stage 15.
EF Pro Cycling team manager Jonathan Vaughters said that the debutant had a suspected broken finger or hand following the initial crash and would undergo further examinations.
“Sergio is fine. Broken hand/or finger(s). X-rays will reveal the exact nature of injury. No head injury,” he wrote on social media. “Second crash was due to not being able to grab brakes properly. Very sad to see him leave like this, however, the important part is he’s ok.”
Higuita was looking to make the breakaway on Sunday’s stage to the summit of the Grand Colombier, when Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-QuickStep) cut across him and took out his front wheel.
Jungels was pulling off after doing a turn on the front of the breakaway attempt, and Higuita had already begun tracking right when the Luxembourg rider in front of him swerved sharply to the right and into his path.
Higuita hit the ground at 59.6km/h on his left-hand side but remounted and carried on. However, he was soon on the ground again as he crashed going through a roundabout while trying to make his way back to the peloton.
Several kilometres later, with 134km still left on the stage, Higuita stopped and leaned over his handlebars, visibly emotional as the EF Pro Cycling directors looked to console him. He got into the team car and his race was over.
The loss of Higuita is a blow for EF Pro Cycling, who were leading the teams classification but have now lost the rider who was 16th overall. They have already won a stage through Daniel Martínez, while Rigoberto Urán is still in contention overall, sitting fourth at the start of the day.
Higuita would have been a useful ally for Urán in the mountains but also had high hopes of making a breakaway on Sunday or in the final week.