Geraint Thomas suffered a dislocated shoulder on another day of destruction at the Tour de France.
The 2018 champion was involved in one of several crashes during yesterday’s dramatic third stage, with last year’s runner-up Primoz Roglic slipping to 20th in the overall standings after his own late heavy fall.
Belgian Tim Merlier ended up claiming his first Tour stage victory, with the returning Mark Cavendish not even contesting the sprint after being caught up behind an earlier pile-up.
Team Alpecin Fenix’s Tim Merlier stormed to victory at the third stage of the Tour de France
It was another day of crashes as 2018 winner Geraint Thomas hit the ground with a bad fall
He injured his shoulder but managed to get back on the bike and continue to the finish line
Merlier’s Alpecin-Fenix team-mate Mathieu van der Poel kept the overall lead ahead of Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphilippe, with Richard Carapaz now the front-runner for the Ineos Grenadiers in third.
When Thomas crashed less than 25 miles into the 114-mile stage, it appeared his race might be over as he sat on the road in pain and fell three minutes behind the peloton.
But after having his shoulder popped back in, he remounted and lost just 26sec by the finish. He is 67sec off the overall leader.
An X-ray on Monday night confirmed the Welshman had not suffered a fracture, but he will be reassessed this morning ahead of the first time trial on Wednesday.
Caleb Ewan (right) also suffered a crash after his front wheel slid from under him, taking down Peter Sagan with him
Robert Gesink, of Team Jumbo Visma, was also involved in a bad crash and forced to abandon
He predicted “a stressful day” because of the bad weather conditions.
The race started in the rain in Lorient and a group of five riders surged ahead immediately.
Behind, the peloton rode at a pedestrian pace and riders were accompanied by scattered showers making the roads slippery and dangerous.
The crash-prone Thomas has shown in the past he can soldier on in pain.
When riding the Tour in support of Chris Froome in 2013, he fell off his bike on a Corsican road in the opening stage and broke his pelvis. Against all odds, Thomas kept on racing on for 3,000 kilometers to the finish line in Paris, where he celebrated the first of Froome’s four victories with the rest of their Team Sky teammates.