Tony Martin's Tour de France has gone from bad to worse. After a puncture knocked him out of competition in the prologue, a crash near the beginning of the first stage sent him to hospital for x-rays. His Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammate Jerome Pineau also went to hospital after being hit by a spectator.
"We take a decision until Monday or even Tony will come at the start of the second stage," said Alessandro Tegner media officer for Omega Pharma-QuickStep. "We wait to see what the night brings, and how Martin recovers from his injuries."
After only 11 kilometres, Martin and three others crashed, but all continued. The world time trial champion paid numerous visits to the race doctor's car, getting pain pills. His official diagnosis from the race doctor was a bruised leg and an injured wrist. He also had visibly lost skin on his left elbow.
Martin has made clear that his main priority this summer is the London Olympics, and not the Tour. A serious injury now would put an end to his dreams for 2012.
"My hand hurts and riding along I felt every pothole," he told Radsport-News.com after the stage. He didn't think of abandoning, though. "If necessary I would have come to the finish as the last rider." It wasn't necessary – in fact he finished in the same time as winner Peter Sagan, which gave team manager Patrick Lefevere reason to hope. "It can't really be that bad. He rode strongly in the finale."
It might really be that bad, though. Team doctor Helge Riepenhof examined him in the team bus and said, "I am usually optimistic, but it doesn't look good."
"I hope that it is only a bad bruise and not a break," Martin said. "Then I will try to fight my way through until the time trial on the coming Monday."
He was joined at hospital by Pineau. The team reported that he hit by a spectator on his right shoulder 25km from the finish and was unable to move his arm after the race.