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June 29, 2016 – For the letter X in our A-to-Z countdown to the 2016 Tour de France (#TDF2016) we’ve chosen XAVIER Tondo, a Spanish rider who died in a freak accident a few weeks before he was due to make his Tour debut with the Movistar team in 2011.
#PelotonShorts by John Wilcockson/Photo by Yuzuru Sunada
Tondo was remembered by his fans with this poster and the flag of Catalonia, his home province, at that year’s Tour stage finishing on the Plateau de Beille summit.
A late bloomer, Tondo came to international attention with the Cervélo Test Team in 2010, when he placed second to Joaquim Rodríguez in the Volta a Catalunya and fifth in the Vuelta a España. And prior to his death in 2011, he placed fifth in both Catalunya and the Tour of the Basque Country and won the Vuelta a Castilla y León.
Prior to the Tour, he was attending an altitude camp with roommate Beñat Intxausti and team leader Alejandro Valverde, staying at a condo near the Sierra Nevada ski resort. On the morning of May 23, with Intxausti in the passenger seat, Tondo got out of his car to open the garage door when the vehicle rolled toward him and crushed him against the still-closed door. He was age 32.