DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) - Alejandro Valverde, a podium finisher in 2015, has crashed out of the Tour de France in the opening time trial on rain-slickened roads, dealing a blow to his teammate Nairo Quintana's hopes of winning the race.
Quintana had been counting on Valverde, a Tour veteran, to help him overthrow defending champion Chris Froome of Team Sky.
But the Movistar rider's wheels slid from under him on a left-hand bend on the course in Duesseldorf on Saturday, sending him sliding hard into metal barriers.
The Tour announced on its website that Valverde was out of the race and had been taken away in an ambulance.
Froome's most loyal support rider finally got some glory of his own.
Geraint Thomas won the wet and slippery opening stage of the Tour de France on Saturday and claimed the yellow jersey.
It was the first Grand Tour stage victory for Thomas, who has escorted Sky teammate Froome to Paris for three Tour victories.
Thomas took just over 16 minutes to cover the almost entirely flat 14-kilometer (8.7-mile) individual time trial up and down the banks of the Rhine River in downtown Duesseldorf.