(Reuters) Chris Froome got a brutal reminder of the unpredictable nature of the Tour de France when he crashed to the ground during Sunday’s second stage, recovering to reach the finish with torn shorts as German Marcel Kittel powered to victory at the end of a huge sprint.
After being faster than his rivals in Saturday’s opening time trial, and while he was sitting comfortably near the front of the peloton, Froome was brought down when a Katusha-Alpecin rider lost his balance in front of him some 30km from the finish.
Last year’s runner-up Romain Bardet (AG2R) was also involved in the pile-up but the Frenchman and Froome made it back to the main pack after a brief chase.
Froome’s Sky team mate Geraint Thomas retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey at the end of the 203.5-km ride from Duesseldorf in Germany, ahead of Stefan Kung (BMC).
“When that happens (a crash in the front) there’s nowhere to go, said Thomas.
“It’s all good and it’s a nice bonus to keep the jersey. We all knew Chris was okay (and would come back), the pace was not full gas at that moment.”