NICE, France (Reuters) – Home favourite Thibaut Pinot said he was concerned by a back injury ahead of Sunday’s second stage of the Tour de France after suffering a heavy crash in the opening stage.
The Frenchman woke up battered and bruised after he hit the deck hard near the finish.
Pinot is one of the fancied riders as he bids to become the first home winner since Bernard Hinault in 1985 but he endured a tough start.
The Groupama-FDJ rider, who looked poised to challenge for overall victory last year before abandoning near the end of the three-week race, described the rain-greased roads as like riding on ice.
“I’m ok, nothing’s broken, I continue,” Pinot said ahead of the second stage, a 186km trek into the mountains surrounding Nice and featuring two Category 1 climbs.
“I’m just concerned by a haematoma on my back, which I sustained when another rider bumped into me in the crash,” he added.
Although it is encouraging for Pinot’s fans that he will be in the saddle on Sunday, a bad day could see him lose time on the main contenders for the yellow jersey.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot in Nice, writing by by Martyn Herman in London, editing by Ed Osmond)