Chris Froome suffered a late crash on the sixth stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné yesterday, but the Briton retained his overall lead with two stages remaining.
Jan Bakelants from Belgium won the 178.5km stage from Grenoble to Poisy after a breakaway, but the drama came late on in the peloton where Tour de France champion Froome crashed on a high-speed descent.
The Team Sky rider was forced to change bikes, but worked his way back to the peloton which had slowed after hearing that the race leader had crashed. A bruised Froome remains 12 seconds ahead of Spain’s Alberto Contador, who will be one of his rivals in the Tour, which starts in England next month.
“It is quite painful, but I was OK to finish the stage,” Froome said. “It looks OK, I am just a little bit grazed for tomorrow. It is more just my hip, elbow and shoulder.
“More than anything, I just want to thank the other riders for neutralising the race,” he added. “That is really big of them – good sportsmanship.”
Bakelants had broken away with a group of 16 riders – none of whom were a threat in the general classification. At the line it was just Bakelants and Dutchman Lieuwe Westra in a sprint finish.