A crash during stage three of the Tour de France saw race leader Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) come down hard before the day’s first categorised climb of Côte de Bohissau, around 55km before the finish on the Mur de Huy.
Cancellara looked dazed after the heavy fall that involved around 35 riders and appeared to have happened as William Bonnet (FDJ) touched wheels with another rider.
Cancellara could be seen talking to race staff and medics, and appeared to have trouble focussing his vision. The 34-year-old Swiss rider remounted and steadily rode back in touch with the peloton.
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme took the unusual step of halting the race completely, a decision which some riders appeared to disagree with. However, with the race’s entire medical staff attending to injured riders the race was stopped for safety reasons.
After around 10 minutes, the riders – including Cancellara – slowly made their way to the top of the Côte de Bohissau for the race to restart. Cancellara eventually finished the stage 11 minutes and 43 seconds behind winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) despite being in obvious discomfort, relinquishing the race lead to Chris Froome (Team Sky)
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge), Dmitry Kozontchuk (Katusha) and Bonnet were among the worst affected, all withdrawing from the race with their injuries.