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Nairo Quintana hints at helping Movistar team-mate Alejandro Valverde at Vuelta a Espana

Nairo Quintana may go from leader to supporter for Movistar team-mate Alejandro Valverde after crashing heavily at the Vuelta a Espana.

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Quintana misjudged a corner during the stage 10 individual time trial between Real Monasterio de Santa Maria de Veruela and Borja - won by Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Tony Martin - as he lost the leader's jersey to Tinkoff-Saxo rival Alberto Contador on Tuesday.

Colombian rider Quintana flipped over his bike and remained on the ground for almost two minutes with injuries to his foot, knee and back as he dropped to 11th in the general classification standings, three minutes and 25 seconds off the lead.

It was a different story for Valverde, whose impressive display in the time trial saw him climb up to second overall, 27 secs behind Contador.

With 11 stages remaining, Quintana hinted he may change his approach in order to boost his team-mate's chances.

"I was feeling great in the uphill, but at that point of the descent my bike simply did not brake enough," said Quintana, the Giro d'Italia champion.

"Before the turn, I was tightening my shoe, which was a little bit loose, but I think that didn't have an effect on my crash. The thing is that I kept breaking for quite long, but it wasn't enough because the bike didn't stop, and I crashed.

"Fortunately, I could avoid having a bigger crash and I did not hurt myself really badly. I'm hurting my left ankle and I also have blows all over my body, but I hope it's nothing serious.

"This is cycling. I lost some time and I might be switching to help out Alejandro (Valverde) so we can conquer the overall podium."

Valverde, who finished eighth in the time trial with Contador placing fourth, was understandably pleased as he rocketed into contention at the grand-tour event.

Though, the Spaniard was saddened by Quintana's crash.

"I'm happy with myself. We're staying in second place, really close to Alberto, but it's a bittersweet taste with Nairo's crash," said Valverde.

"I didn't know anything, I was told when I finished. It's awful to have such a crash, when you're in the lead, clocking good times. Being the two of us closer in the overall would have been better for our interests, but the only important thing now is that Nairo is still racing.

"I'm sure he will recover well, even though I'm told it was quite a blow. We'll keep fighting to do great in this Vuelta."

Valverde added: "Losing so few seconds to Alberto and finishing before [Chris] Froome and Purito [Joaquim Rodriguez] is fantastic. I know tomorrow's finish: it's a demanding climb, really tough, and I just hope legs respond well.

"It seems like it's going to be good weather up there and I hope it plays on my favour."

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