Richard Carapaz and Enric Mas, two of the Tour’s top GC contenders, were caught up in a heavy crash inside the last 25km of stage 1, the leader of Team Movistar forced to abandon the 2023 Tour de France.
The break was caught, the peloton was pulsing on its way off the tricky penultimate climb of the day, and with the hotly anticipated launchpad a few kilometres down the road, disaster struck on the descent off the Côte de Vivero. Carapaz’s striking Ecuadorian national champion’s jersey was easy to pick out along with the resplendent pink jersey of EF Education-EasyPost teammate James Shaw. But while Carapaz nursed two bloodied knees, it was Enric Mas who looked worst off a little behind them, holding his right arm with the unhurried body language that is never a good sign.
As the peloton powered onwards towards the crucial Côte de Pike, the pair’s GC hopes went with it. While Carapaz gingerly mounted a replacement bike after a few minutes, Mas remained standing at the side of the road, still and pensive, the reality dawning on him. His race was over, and it was confirmed soon after.
Carapaz was able to finish the stage, but in losing 15:24, any hopes of replicating his podium finish of 2021 were well and truly over. Then following medical assessment, it was announced on Saturday evening that he too would not start stage 2 having fractured a kneecap in the crash.
Update: Movistar confirmed on Saturday night that Mas fractured his scapula in the crash.
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