Wout Poels riding with broken rib and injured lung as he starts stage two of the Tour de France

The Dutchman is one of many riders soldiering on

(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

Wout Poels starts stage two of the Tour de France with a broken rib and a lung contusion after being one of many riders caught up in crashes on a manic stage one.

"It was not ideal, my ribs are a little bit sore...but the sun is shining and we'll try to make the best of it today," Poels said before the start of the stage, putting on a brave face.

If Poels' condition worsens, Mikel Landa could face losing a second valuable domestique before the GC battle even begins after Rafael Valls fractured his right femur in a crash and withdrew from the race.

"Speedy recovery for Rafael, a shame that we have to miss him already after one day," Poels added.

Rafael Valls after crashing on stage one of the Tour de France 2020 (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The crashes are said to have been caused by Nice experiencing rain showers for the first time in months during the race, the water lifting layers of vehicle fuel and rubber off the roads, making the surface slippery. Riders even decided to neutralise one of the descents as they looked to protect team leaders on day one of the 2020 French Grand Tour.

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There had been rumours the slipperiness of the road had been caused by the publicity caravan and that a detergent company had blown soap all over the course, but this theory was quickly debunked.

The crash-marred opening stage of this year's race also claimed Lotto-Soudal's Philippe Gilbert, who suffered a broken kneecap, while his team-mate John Degenkolb finished outside the time limit, having also fallen.

Thibaut Pinot's key domestique David Gaudu crashed alongside his team leader in the closing kilometres of stage one and was already off the back early on day two, receiving medical attention as he struggled on.

At the 2018 Tour, Lawson Craddock suffered a fractured collarbone in a crash also on the first stage, managing to make it through to stage 21 in Paris, becoming the first rider to hold the last place after every stage, raising $200,000 for charity in the process.

Jonny Long

Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.