GERAINT THOMAS CRASHES, DISLOCATES SHOULDER, RIDES BACK TO THE PELOTON
Team Ineos leader Geraint Thomas dislocated his right shoulder in a hard crash on the third stage of the Tour de France on Monday, kicking his legs out in pain as doctors put it back in before gingerly retaking his saddle to resume racing. Welshman Thomas was at first left to his own fate by teammates clearly fearful he would have to pull out. He was trailing the main pack by three minutes when he set off again before fellow Welshman Luke Rowe dropped back in an attempt to help Thomas reel in the peloton.
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Race judges reacted angrily when the pair tucked in to the tailwind of an Ineos team car, and two other riders fell back to shepherd the 35-year-old back into the main peloton with 80 miles of rainy route remaining. Thomas still appeared in discomfort after rejoining the pack and had ripped his shorts with slight grazing visible.
A long afternoon lay in store for Thomas, who dropped back to the medical car for some in-the-saddle treatment. However, the flat stage should facilitate him finishing with the main pack. Thomas brought down Jumbo rider Robert Gesink, who ran over the Welshman and fell head-over-heels. The Dutchman was forced to pull out of the Tour due to his injuries.
Thomas had predicted a problematic day ahead of the race, saying: “It’ll be a nervous stage, we are on the Tour de France and things can change quickly.”
The 2018 champion and 2019 runner-up, Thomas was 41 seconds off the lead at the start of Monday’s largely flat stage from Lorient to Pontivy, where heavy showers were making the road slick. Ineos started the Tour with three co-leaders for Thomas in a daring quartet strategy aimed and stopping the ever-improving champion Tadej Pogacar, but Thomas said he doubted all four would still be in the mix by the end of the first week saying “something will happen to someone, it always does”.
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini