It did not look good for Omega Pharma QuickStep's Tony Martin yesterday. But the team has now confirmed that Martin, despite the injuries after the crash, will start Sunday’s Tour de France stage.
The World time trial champion was taken to hospital after the stage. He had crashed heavily. At hospital, he was diagnosed with a concussion and contusion on his left lung. There was also tissue damage on his hip, left knee, shoulder and back.
It sounds crazy, but a team spokesperson says that Martin will start and has been cleared by the team’s medical staff.
“He will start,” said the spokesperson.
“This morning he’s smiling. I won't say he's relaxed because of what he went through, but he has been able to eat and last night he was able to sleep. It’s hard to say if he can finish the stage today but the most important thing is to try. He’s put a lot of energy into this race. If he doesn’t feel good he’ll stop."
Chris Froome was one of many riders who hit the deck on yesterday’s opening stage of the Tour de France. He fell in the neutralized section, before the race even started. The Team Sky rider got too close to the curb and went down, cutting his knee.
But he could remount and soon he realised that the injuries were not serious.
“I managed to get through the rest of the day unscathed and if that’s the only crash I have this Tour I’ll take that!” he said.
The opening stages of these kind of races, can be very dangerous. It is really easy to crash.
The Team Sky knows that the most important thing of the first stages is to try to avoid trouble.
“I don’t think any of us expected it was going to be plain sailing today, but there were some pretty brutal crashes in the final there,” Froome said.
“Again it’s just another reminder that this Tour is about so much more than having the form and being here. It’s about staying out of trouble and looking after ourselves in the peloton at the same time.”
Team Sky' teammate Geraint Thomas also hit the deck. He could continue the race this morning.
Tony Martin crashed hard in the opening road stage of the Tour de France in 2012, and broke his scaphoid. Despite this, he continued, and first abandoned after stage nine's time trial. Twelve months later, the reigning world TT champion is in a similar situation. But this time with no fractures.
Martin crashed inside the final kilometers of hectic first stage on Corsica.
"Tony Martin crashed during the final kilometers of Tour de France Stage 1 on Saturday. He finished the race, but after the finish he was transported to the General Hospital of Bastia, where he passed a few examinations," read a team statement.
He was cleared of any fractures. But he is not free of injuries.
"He has a concussion and a contusion on his left lung. He also has soft tissue damages on his hip, chest, left knee and shoulder, and also on his back. Furthermore, he has a very deep wound 5cm wide on his left elbow that reaches his muscles, which causes a lot of pain and a problem moving his arm," continued the statement.
"Any decision on his participation at the second stage of the Tour de France will be taken after considering how the clinical situation evolves during the night."