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:

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible