The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

July 1, 2013

At Tour, walking wounded win by soldiering on

(Continued)

"The start was just unbelievable, just so much pain round here in my hip," he said. "Toward the end, you know, it definitely felt a lot better than at the start. But it was still really sore. It hurts."

An X-ray Saturday after the crash didn't show any break. To be sure, Thomas was taken for a scan after Sunday's stage.

The race doctor, Florence Pommerie, said she gave Thomas some painkillers as he rode Sunday. Bakelants completed the stage in 3 hours, 43 minutes, 11 seconds. The course featured four climbs, through spiky mountains with patches of snow and past villages clinging to hillsides.

"The wake-up the morning after a crash is tough. You have to get the carcass moving again," Pommerie said. "No one wants to fall and quit in the first few days."

Thomas' boss, Sky manager Dave Brailsford, said their hope is that Thomas will get better on the road, over the next three weeks to Paris. With only eight riders to support Froome, Brailsford doesn't want to lose one of them so early in the race.

"Basically you just hope that he can suffer enough in order to keep on going, which will give him time for the injury to heal. But it's a very fine line. You either aggravate it and make it worse or ... depending on the injury, it might be possible to make it better."

"These guys," Brailsford added, "won't quit unless there is something really, really badly wrong."

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