Dan Martin emerged from the Tour de France X-ray truck in pain but also relieved that he had not suffered any fractures in his high-speed crash in the stage to Amiens. The UAE Team Emirates leader crashed at speed with 17km to go but got up, chased with his teammates to limit his losses, finishing 1:16 behind the peloton and his overall rivals.
The back of Martin's jersey was in shreds and he had a long cut across his lower back and blood staining his shorts. He initially struggled to climb the steps of his team bus but was able to joke when he spoke to a small group of media, including Cyclingnews that waited at the X-ray truck.
"I've felt better…" he said.
"You always knows it's a mess when the doctors take off the bandages to do the scan and go 'Ohhh!'. But it's not as bad as I feared, there's nothing broken but I'm ripped to pieces; I landed on my back. That's why we thought there might be a fracture but it seems not. I bounce well."
However, Martin was heard earlier screaming in the UAE team bus.
"I was in the shower and it hurts, it was also the shock afterwards," he explained, before praising his teammates for helping chase the peloton and explaining how the crash happened.
"The guys did a good job. I just don't understand why the team cars have to be taken out and barraging us, to preventing us getting back to the peloton. It seems weird. This race has been incredibly nervous this year and especially with so many people standing along the road. The guys ride millimetres away from them to try and move up. I thought everybody had realised that crashing hurts but I guess not.
"I suppose it could have been a lot worse. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was one of the first to crash. Someone braked in front of me, turned right and took my front wheel away. I couldn't do anything.
"There are these moments in the peloton and who knows what causes the crashes. The Tour gets away with it by saying: It's the Tour, but it's strange that there aren't crashes like this in other races."
Martin slipped to 31st overall, 2:47 down on race leader Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing). He is last in the virtual overall classification of GC contender on the eve of the cobbled stage to Roubaix, 1:41 down on Chris Froome and an even more significant 2:40 down on Geraint Thomas.
"The time loss isn't the best thing to happen but hopefully I can survive tomorrow's stage. I've got to try to ride over those cobbles stones. I'm going to be sore and my back is a bit of a mess."
Despite his pain, Martin managed to put things into perspective and remember that he has already won a prestigious stage of this year's Tour de France.
"We'll see what the situation is after the rest day. That was always going to be the case. I've won a stage of the Tour and so whatever happens. I always said anything else was a bonus. This is just not the bonus I was thinking of but it happens."
A crash with 17km to go saw Polka Dot jersey holder @Tomashuuns (@TrekSegafredo), @DanMartin86 (@TeamUAEAbuDhabi), and @tonymartin85 (@katushacycling) all caught up. It was captured on camera by @TimoRoosen (@LottoJumbo_road). Thankfully all riders made it to the finish #TDF2018pic.twitter.com/dMOieW2R2h— Velon CC (@VelonCC) July 14, 2018