Michael Woods is riding the Tour de France with two broken ribs after he landed on his radio in a fall.
The EF Education First climber was one of the riders who hit the floor in a crash on stage 11, that also involved Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
Woods was able to get back on and finish the stage to Toulouse, won by Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), but X-rays following stage 12 revealed he had suffered two cracked ribs.
Speaking ahead of the stage 13 time trial, Canadian Woods told Cycling Weekly: “I’m pretty sore but much better than yesterday. Yesterday was pretty tough. I was really stiff.
“The breaks aren’t bad. They’re both cracked, both stable, nothing displaced, and I’ve got the go ahead to keep racing, it’s just going to be uncomfortable.”
The collision happened around 30km from the finish in of stage 11 in Toulouse, and caused a split in the bunch that forced Porte and Quintana to chase.
Porte was one of five Trek-Segafredo riders who went down, hitting his head but managing to chase back on and avoid any time losses.
Woods added: “I managed to get my foot down but unfortunately someone hit me from behind, I fell down and it seemed like an innocuous fall. I tried rolling but when I rolled I landed on my radio and I ended up fracturing two ribs.
“It’s really uncomfortable, tough to breathe, tough to stand, tough to sprint, but I managed to get through yesterday and that was going to be the biggest test.
“I was able to get back on the bike, but I got the wind knocked out of me big time, I had a lot of difficulty breathing.
“I was staying optimistic but when I got back to the hotel I woke up in the middle of the night feeling nauseous because of the pain, it felt like an ache in the bone. I realised it was probably broken and I told the doctor to schedule some imaging post-stage 12.”
Woods, 32, is riding the Tour de France 2019 in support of EF Education First general classification leader Rigoberto Uran.
He had been high on general classification, but Woods slipped out of the top 10 on stage eight to Saint-Étienne when he fell in front of Team Ineos and took down a number of their riders including Geraint Thomas.
Woods says he feels able to continue the race to support his team-mates and even pursue his own chances: “I would have made the decision to abandon if I was going to be useless to the team. Even yesterday I went back for bottles four times and I was able to get over the climbs so even in the worst case scenario I’ll be useful to the team, best case scenario I’ll be good enough to start looking for breaks again later in the race.
“You never know, stranger things have happened.”
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