“It’s painful but there’s nothing broken or serious,” Froome said, “It’s nothing that a good night’s sleep won’t fix.”
He crashed with Alessandro Vanotti (Astana) with around 10 kilometres to race in the stage while his Sky team-mates were riding in front.
“I don’t even know what happened. It happened so quickly,” Froome added. “I just remember the road being really uneven and there being gravel on the corner, and I just lost my front wheel.”
The black tarmac roads twisted their way down the Côte de Ronzy to a flat section with grassy shoulders. Froome stood by his bike with Vanotti nearby when the television cameras caught the incident.
“Sky messed up a series of curves and when they got to the last one the braked in a critical moment and they slid,” Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) said. “They were right ahead of me, I saw it, but I always keep two to three metres of space ahead of me for safety.”
“There was a pothole and gravel,” team-mate Richie Porte told Cycling Weekly.
“The corner kept going around, I kept looking back,” added Geraint Thomas. “I was like, ‘Froomey’s crashed!’ I just went off the road! So it was a bit stupid! I was fine as I was going 2K an hour. I was just a stupid little thing.”
Froome’s crashed looked more serious. He jumped up immediately, swapped bikes and rode on Thomas’s wheel back to the bunch. Nibali and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) both slowed the pace while he returned.
Three minutes and 56 seconds after Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won the stage, Froome arrived with his yellow jersey ripped to show a bloody back. His shorts were also ripped on the left side, revealing a bloody hip.
“No, no, [nothing’s broken], I just have some grazes on my back and hip, but it’s nothing serious and nothing a few days off after this won’t heal up,” Froome said.
“[These type of crashes are] part of our job. I want to thank the other riders today for neutralising the race once I crashed. I was in a difficult position and it would’ve been easy for me to lose the yellow jersey.”
Race leader fell in closing kilometres but retains the maillot jaune.