Lotto-Soudal's Greg Henderson has been unable to help sprinter Andre Greipel since breaking his ribs on stage three of the Tour de France

Greg Henderson is usually seen with Andre Greipel glued to his wheels in the final kilometres of races, but the Kiwi was noticeably absent on stage five, with two broken ribs restricting his riding.

Henderson went down hard on stage three of the Tour de France, causing cuts and bruises to his but most awkwardly breaking two of his ribs in the process.

Greipel still managed to win stage five without the 38-year-old, and Henderson is now simply concerned about getting through the next few stages in order to be able to help his leader later in the Tour.

“It’s the breathing that’s the problem,” he said. “If it’s just riding along in the peloton, it’s alright. But when I go full gas against crosswind or uphill, I can’t breathe.

“I have two broken ribs and they expand so much that I’m in big trouble when it gets super hard. There’s an improvement this morning from yesterday morning.

“[On Wednesday] I didn’t have a smile on my face because of the cobbles and the bruising that came out from the first crash. I feel better this morning.

“But I can’t even put my clothes on. The way to do it is just to keep suffering. I have five stitches here and two here, but I can’t be bothered with those.”

Henderson is not the only Antipodean suffering from the huge crash on stage three, which ended Tom Dumoulin’s Tour and left Fabian Cancellara with a broken back.

Orica-GreenEdge’s Michael Matthews was awarded the combativity award on Wednesday, battling through the tough stage while also nursing broken ribs.

Matthews’s teammate Michael Albasini became the third rider from his team to abandon the race, having been involved in one of the many crashes on stage five.