MADRID • Chris Froome's hopes of pulling off a rare Tour de France-Vuelta double are over after he was forced to withdraw before yesterday's 12th stage after a heavy crash on Wednesday left him with a fractured bone in his foot.
The two-time Tour de France winner and Team Sky leader went down at the start of the brutally mountainous 11th stage in the Pyrenees and eventually limped across the line more than seven minutes behind new leader Fabio Aru of Astana.
Astana rider Mikel Landa, third in this year's Giro d'Italia, won the stage at the summit of Cortals d'Encamp in Andorra in 4hr 34min 54sec.
"Scans this morning confirm fractured navicular," Froome, 15th overall on Wednesday, wrote on his Twitter feed.
"End of the Vuelta for me."
OUT OF CONTENTION
Scans this morning confirm fractured navicular. End of the Vuelta for me.
CHRIS FROOME, Team Sky's two-time Tour de France winner
He appeared close to pulling out when he was dropped from the group of main contenders with three of the six climbs remaining in the punishing Queen stage, billed as one of the toughest ever set in a grand tour.
But the 30-year-old, who said he was knocked sideways into a barrier and wall in the crash, doggedly continued with the help of his team-mates and managed to finish.
However, after losing so much time, and with 10 stages left, Froome's hopes of emulating Frenchmen Jacques Anquetil (1963) and Bernard Hinault (1978) as the only men to win the Tour and Vuelta in the same year were clearly over.
"Really appreciate all the messages of support, I did my best to hang in there today as best I could with the hope of continuing," Froome added, while praising his team-mate Geraint Thomas, who helped nurse him through to the finish of the stage.
"Thanks to the whole team for the support, especially @GeraintThomas86 for sticking it out with me today."
The 21-stage race finishes in Madrid on Sept 13.