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Tour de France

Tour de France 2018: Peter Sagan crash on stage 17 descent puts his race in doubt after backside hits ‘big rock’

Bora-Hansgrohe rider injures his rear end after overcooking a corner and veering into a forest, but green jersey holder ‘confident’ of making stage 18

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 July, 2018, 1:06pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 July, 2018, 1:06pm

Peter Sagan has said he will continue in the Tour de France despite his heavy crash on a descent during stage 17.

The three-time defending word champion crashed on the descent from Col de Val Louron-Azet, the second climb of the day, but made it to the finish line despite needing medical treatment.

Bora-Hansgrohe rider Sagan, who has won three stages in this year’s Tour, said he had only injured his backside, despite his jersey being torn.

“I crashed in a turn – in the corner I made a mistake,” Sagan told reporters at the finish. “It looked like a fast corner, but after I just went a little more right.

“I was braking but it wasn’t enough. After I flew through the forest and I hit a big rock with my a**.”

So big is his lead in the points competition, Sagan only needs to finish in Paris on Sunday to secure the green jersey for a record-equalling sixth time.

Sagan had misjudged the corner on the twisting, narrow road off the top of the mountain and went off it into a forest.

But he picked himself up from the side of the ride in the Pyrenees and finished 26 minutes behind stage winner Nairo Quintana of Movistar in 134th place.

“I did not see him crash,” Sagan’s teammate Daniel Oss said after the race. “I only saw him coming back on to the road.

“He must have made a mistake on one of the corners. He has some cuts, some scrapes, a torn jersey. He’s OK.”

But Oss was in no doubt whether Sagan would be able to continue the Tour: “Yeah, he’s an animal.”

Tour de France: Philippe Gilbert’s race over after ‘lucky escape’ following stage 16 crash into ravine

The Slovakian’s team said in a statement that a decision was yet to be taken on whether Sagan would ride stage 18, which finishes in Pau.

X-rays found no fractures however, with Bora-Hansgrohe reporting Sagan suffered heavy abrasions and some bruises on his right side.

“It would be very easy to just go home, but two or three days before Paris, no,” Sagan said. “It could be worse. I have some scratches and I hit the muscle on my a**. I hope it is going to be better in one or two days.

“We will see tomorrow morning how I feel. I just did my pace on the last climb, and I finished OK.”

Although Colombia’s Quintana took victory, Geraint Thomas solidified his hold on the yellow jersey after Chris Froome cracked in the mountains.

Froome is chasing a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title, but it is his Sky teammate Thomas who is now in pole position after extending his lead to nearly two minutes over Tom Demoulin.

“Froomey said on the radio at maybe 5k or 4k to go, that he wasn’t feeling super,” Welshman Thomas said. “That gave me confidence because I knew if Froomey suffered, everyone suffered.

“I didn’t want him to have a bad day like he did but it just gave me confidence knowing someone of Froomey’s stature was struggling, and I just knew I would be able to respond to the attacks.”

Britain’s Froome crossed the finish line in eighth place, 95 seconds behind Quintana, which saw him drop into third position overall – two minutes and 31 seconds off Thomas.

And there was more drama for Froome after the race when French police mistook him for a fan and caused him to fall off his bike.

The defending champion had put on his rain jacket and was cycling to the Team Sky bus with his bodyguard on another bike.

A policeman on the side of the road believed Froome was one of the thousands of fans who ride up the mountains to see the competitors, and tried to stop him.

Froome crashed amid the confusion but avoided injury and is set to ride stage 18. “It was a misunderstanding, Chris is fine,” a Team Sky spokesman said.