A sixth-stage crash in the Tour de France left German rider and race leader Tony Martin in hospital overnight with a broken collarbone.
The riders faced extreme heat, intense winds, bruising crashes, cobblestones and rain on the leg from Abbeville to Le Havre in Normandy.
The crash, just metres short of the finish, also caught 2014 winner Vincenzo Nibali and other contenders, but they escaped with minor injuries. Martin is the second yellow-jersey rider to pull out of the race.
His team doctor, Helge Riepenhof, said Martin’s collarbone was shattered.
“[It] was a major impact,” Riepenhof said. “One of the pieces came through the skin, which means it’s an open fracture.”
Yesterday’s events highlighted how gruelling the race has been so far.
“This has been like a movie, an emotional roller coaster at this Tour,” Martin said.
Race rules stipulate that a rider crashing on a flat surface or held up by an accident during the last three kilometres of a stage will be awarded the same time for that stage as the winner. Martin, therefore, was still in first place before he withdrew. US rider Chris Froome inherited the lead. The Australian riders have a lot of ground to cover: Michael Rogers is placed 36th; team leader Mark Renshaw trails at 79th.
The seventh stage covers 190.5 kilometres today. – Ellen Conroy
Top photo from Frans Berkelaar’s Flickr photostream.