WELSH cycling star Geraint Thomas has had another bumpy start to a big race - crashing badly and dislocating his shoulder on Stage 3 of the Tour De France, mirroring the tumble that put him out on the third day of last year’s Giro d’Italia.
The 2018 Tour winner looked in agony on the tarmac, but got back up and finished Monday’s stage after the race doctor put his shoulder back in at scene.
Cycling News reported that the chaos came 37 kilometres into the 183km long sprint stage from Lorient to Pontivy, when there was a touch of wheels at the front of the peloton.
Thomas hit the deck first, and could be seen clutching his collarbone and shoulder area afterwards.
Robert Gesink, a key domestique for race favourite Primož Roglic, somersaulted over Thomas, and was forced to abandon the race soon afterwards.
Luke Rowe, Jonathan Castroviejo and Dylan Van Baarle dropped back and helped Ineos teammate Thomas bridge a two-minute gap to return to the peloton.
Meanwhile race favourite Roglic also lost time after falling in the final 10km, with the tortuous and claustrophobic closing 20km, which left numerous riders in ditches or sprawled on the tarmac, described as “deplorable” by leading race figures.
Thomas managed to finish alongside defending champion Tadej Pogacar and ahead of the bloodied Roglic 26 seconds behind the stage winner.
He was one minute and seven seconds behind yellow jersey holder Mathieu van der Poel at the start of day four, but although Ineos confirmed the rider hadn’t sustained a fracture, it could have a big bearing on his ability to mount a title challenge.
Last autumn, the Welshman was hoping to mount a Giro challenge when a stray water bottle caused a crash and ruled him out with a broken hip.
Thomas, 35, has strong links with the local Monmouthshire area, owning the St Tewdrics wedding venue near Chepstow where he got married, and highlighting the Tumble ascent up the Blorenge, between Abergavenny and Blaenavon, as one of his top hill climbs in his recent book ‘Mountains According to G’.
The rider has also raced in the Abergavenny Festival of Cycling and various championship races on local roads.
AB2_4175.jpgrance_Cycling_Tour_de_France.JPG_t2500.jpgGeraint Thomas racing in the British road race championship in Abergavenny in 2014. Pic Paul TuttonGeraint Thomas Cycling Club Facebook Page.jpg
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