BRITAIN’S Chris Froome was at the centre of an injury scare yesterday when the Tour de France champion crashed on stage four, hurting his wrist, leg and arm.
Team Sky sent their lead rider for a precautionary X-ray last night, with the jarred wrist of greater concern than cuts and bruises to his hip, thigh, knee, elbow and shoulder.
Froome gamely got back on his bike and finished the stage in Lille without losing time on overall leader Vincenzo Nibali, meaning he remains two seconds adrift in the general classification.
He later said: “Took quite a tumble today but I’ll definitely be starting tomorrow with no serious damage.”
Froome’s wrist is likely to be severely tested in today’s fifth stage from Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, which features several stretches of cobbled road.
Sports director Nicolas Portal said Team Sky had been “scared out of our wits” by the accident, adding that Froome had been given a splint to support the wrist after he “hit the tarmac hard”.
Team boss Sir Dave Brailsford said: “We’ll just manage tonight and take tomorrow when we get to tomorrow. Obviously we’d had preferred it if Chris hadn’t crashed but he felt fine in the final bit. His spirit is fine. We all know it’s part of the rough and tumble of pro bike racing.”
Britain lost its other Tour star on Saturday when 25-time stage winner Mark Cavendish dislocated his shoulder in a crash on the first stage in Yorkshire.
German Marcel Kittel won a sprint finish – the Giant-Shimano rider’s third victory from four stages – pipping Norwegian Alexander Kristoff.