Call that an injury, mate? Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas is hanging in the Tour de France with a fractured pelvis
He joins a long roll call of super hard cyclists
For a sport that requires such unmanly kit, cycling doesn’t half produce tough guys. Geraint Thomas, the British rider supporting Chris Froome in Team Sky, came down in a huge pile-up in Saturday’s opening stage of the Tour de France. Scans later revealed a fractured pelvis, which ought to be grounds for withdrawal to a sofa. But not for Thomas, who defied the pleas of his mother to be lifted on to his bike on Sunday and today, when he put in strong turns in the team time trial.
The German rider Tony Martin came down in the same crash and lost consciousness on the way to hospital after finishing. He suffered concussion, a contusion on his left lung, bruising and a deep cut to his left elbow. Yet he, too, rode the next morning and helped Mark Cavendish’s Omega Pharma-Quick-Step team finish second today, one place ahead of Team Sky.
The annals of cycling bleed profusely with tales of triumph over pain. Can the barrier be higher in any other sport? Would Andy Murray take to Centre Court a day after receiving 33 stitches? That was the fate that befell Johnny Hoogerland, who looked as if he had been attacked by a leopard after tumbling into a barbed wire fence in a crash with a TV car during the 2011 Tour. The Dutch rider painted the road red for the rest of that day but continued the next morning after being sewn up by team doctors.
In 2010, Tyler Farrar rode for 10 stages after breaking his wrist in a crash before finally admitting defeat and pulling out. Tyler Hamilton, the rider who last year blew the whistle on Lance Armstrong, finished second in the 2002 Giro D’Italia with a fractured shoulder. The following year, he cracked a collarbone in the first stage of the Tour de France but cycled on for three weeks, winning stage 16 with a solo breakaway and finishing fourth overall.
Why do they do it? Because pain is part of cycling even without the crashes. Riders must almost enjoy it to make as pros. More than that, the world’s greatest race is not one any rider will quit lightly, if they can possibly grin and bear it.
Watch video of Johnny Hoogerland's crash in the Tour De France 2011:
Latest in Sport
Andy Murray tells how coach Amélie Mauresmo revealed her pregnancy
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Everton 3 Manchester United 0 player ratings: Who scored lower - Marouane Fellaini or Radamel Falcao?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Haulage company based on the Thorpe Indu...
£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...
£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£28000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...