Tour de France 2013: Geraint Thomas scrapes past pain barrier

Sky rider refuses to quit despite severe injury as Gerrans wins stage in Corsican hills

Corsica

Today's stage of the Tour featured 35 degree heat and a four hour high-speed ride on twisting, narrow roads with barely a metre of flat but Britain’s Geraint Thomas overcame all the pain of a fractured pelvis to complete the course.

The Sky rider finished 177th, more than nine minutes down on winner Simon Gerrans. Yet despite trailing at the back of the pack for most of the day, moving in and out of the saddle to try and ease the pain, and finally losing contact with the main bunch around 50 kilometres from the finish, Thomas was adamant he would continue.

“I’ve done so much to lose weight and get fit for this, so I’m not just going to give up straight away,” Thomas (below), who injured his pelvis on Saturday’s big crash but whose injuries were not fully discovered until Sunday night, said afterwards.

 “The experts have said it’s not going to get any worse. I’m going to give it a few days and see if the pain comes down. It felt a lot better today than yesterday, and it also felt a lot better at the end than it did at the start. But I’ve got a crack on my bone, so it’s going to hurt, isn’t it?”

Asked if he was going to continue, he said: “My mum doesn’t want me to, but this is not your average race. I’m definitely going to keep fighting.”

Thomas gutsy attitude earned him praise from Sky leader Chris Froome, who said: “He came up to the front after about 100ks today and shouted, ‘Yeah! Come on!’ That made us all smile. He’s got fighting spirit. He’s in pain but he’s really up for it and I think that just lifts the rest of us.”

Meanwhile for the last 48 hours the most prominent component of Australian squad Orica-GreenEdge in the 2013 Tour has arguably been its team bus, which got stuck underneath stage one’s finishing gantry minutes before the riders were due to reach it.

But yesterday their veteran Simon Gerrans put his team’s tumultous start behind them with a stunning stage victory at Calvi.

In an agonisingly close sprint duel, Gerrans fended off one of the sport’s strongest all-rounders, Slovak Peter Sagan, by less than half a wheel – which given Sagan took the green points jersey and three stages of the Tour last year as well as 13 wins to date this season, is far easier said than done.

“We’ve had some publicity on this year’s race already, but for us this is better,” Gerrans said afterwards with a wry smile.

Prior to his win, TV viewers probably spent a large part of yesterday’s stage with their mouths agawp as the race wended its way through the largely unspoiled beauty of Corsica’s rugged and wild western coastline.

But rather than reflecting what a pity it was the Tour had not visited Corsica previously in its 100 years history, for the bulk of the peloton the 144 kilometre trek, on perpetually undulating roads, was probably only memorable for the frazzled state of nerves such relentlessly technical terrain ended up producing. And  more high tension stages are soon to come, with the riders flying to Nice late yesterday evening and today facing an almost equally fraught challenge – a 25 kilometre team time trial.

On paper, Sky, as winners of the equivalent event in the recent Giro and third in the Tour’s last team time trial in 2011,  should be one of the top favourites.  And with most of the top names grouped at one second behind race leader Jan Bakelants, a spell in yellow for one of Sky’s riders may even be in the offing –  even if Thomas, initially down as one of Sky’s key powerhouses for the stage, is now more in what he calls ‘survival mode’.

Tour de France: Race details

Tour de France, STAGE three (Ajaccio - Calvi, 145.5km/91 miles ): 1 S Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 3hr 41min 24secs, 2 P Sagan (Slovak) Cannondale Pro Cycling, 3 J Joaquin Rojas (Sp) Movistar Team, 4 M Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step, 5 P Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team, 6 J Antonio Flecha (Sp) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team, 7 F Gavazzi (It) Astana Pro Team, 8 M Bouet (Fr) AG2R La Mondiale, 9 J Simon (Fr) Sojasun, 10 G Izaguirre (Sp) Euskaltel-Euskadi, 11 E Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling, 12 R Bardet (Fr) AG2R La Mondiale, 13 C Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team, 14 S Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team, 15 E Favilli (It) Lampre-Merida, 16 M Mori (It) Lampre-Merida, 17 SGeschke (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano, 18 D Malacarne (It) Team Europcar, 19 J Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard, 20 P Velits (Slovak) Omega Pharma-Quick Step, all at same time. Selected others: 28 C Froome (GB) Sky Procycling 3hr 41min 24sec, 29 D Millar (GB) Garmin-Sharp at same time, 156 I Stannard (GB) Sky Procycling at 8.26, 166 M Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 9.15, 177 G Thomas (GB) Sky Procycling at same time, 181 P Kennaugh (GB) Sky Procycling at same time.

General classification: 1 J Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard 12hr 21min 27sec, 2 J Simon (Fr) Sojasun at 0.01sec, 3 S Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, 4 M Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step, 5 E Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling, 6 D Impey (SA) Orica-GreenEdge, 7 D Millar (GB) Garmin-Sharp, 8 S Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team, 9 C Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team, 10 R Bardet (Fr) AG2R La Mondiale, 11 N Roche (Rep Ire) Team Saxo-Tinkoff, 12 J Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol, 13 S Chavanel (Fr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step, 14 J-C Peraud (Fr) AG2R La Mondiale, 15 C Froome (GB) Sky Procycling, 16 D Cunego (It) Lampre-Merida, 17 E Vorganov (Rus) Katusha, 18 R Kreuziger (Cz Rep) Team Saxo-Tinkoff, 19 A Valverde (Sp) Movistar Team, 20 J Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team all at same time.  Selected others: 99 P Kennaugh (GB) Sky Procycling at 9min 16, 173 I Stannard (GB) Sky Procycling at 26.01, 184 M Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 26.5, 194 G Thomas (GB) Sky Procycling at same time.

Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
News
peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Arts & Entertainment
Play It Forward: the DC Record Fair in Washington, US
musicIndependent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads on Record Store Day
Sport
video
News
Supermarkets are running out of Easter Eggs
Deals make eggs cheaper than normal chocolate
Life & Style
Wasp factory: 1.3 million examples of the Vespa scooter have been sold in the last decade
motoringIconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales
Voices
voicesThe Ukip leader on why he's done nothing illegal
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Online Advertising Account Executive , St Pauls , London

£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Advertising Account Executive - Online, Central London

£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Senior Infrastructure Consultant

£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...

Public Sector Audit - Bristol

£38000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have experience of ...

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books