Robert Gesink’s post-stage six tweet left no doubt about how badly the crash on the road into Metz had impacted on the Rabobank team. "8 riders, 15 crashes, 2 broken ribs, 1 punctured lung, 1 square metre of lost skin," the Dutch team’s leader revealed.
Following the stage of the Tour de France, a very tender-looking Bauke Mollema stepped down from the team bus to describe how he had been impacted by the crash and give his thoughts with the first mountain stage next on the schedule.
"I was with everyone in the middle of the group. We were going at very high speed and suddenly there was a crash. I ended up on the ground and tried to make myself as small as possible to reduce my chances of being hit. But a lot of riders still fell on top of me and all around me. I ended up with a lots of cuts and grazes, which all feel pretty sore now, but I don’t think I’ll need to go to the hospital," said Mollema.
Together with Gesink and Steven Kruiswijk, Mollema forms a triple-headed threat in the mountains. However, all three lost significant time following the stage six crash and went into that stage carrying injuries.
"I’ll just have to see what happens on the stage to La Planche des Belles Filles and see how I react then. I’ll probably be stiff. I ended up in a group with all kinds of GC contenders like Scarponi, Schleck, Hesjedal and Rolland, but of course I lost a lot of time to Evans and Wiggins. Every second is a hard loss for me before we get to the mountains, so losing more than two minutes today is the most disappointing aspect of the day," he said.
Gesink was also grazed and cut but came out of the crash relatively OK, although he lost more than three minutes on the day. He finished with Kruiswijk . who fell twice. Rabobank communications manager Richard Plugge said that Maarten Wynants was the biggest worry.
"He was in a lot of pain and has been taken off to hospital. I think Laurens Ten Dam was the only one of our riders caught up in the crash who finished without a mark on him. Luis León Sánchez wasn’t injured either but only because he was right at the back still carrying the injuries he sustained earlier in the race," said Plugge, who added: "It’s like a war hospital in the team bus. It’s like MASH!"
X-rays conducted on Friday night showed that Wynants had suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung. The 30-year-old Dutchman did not take to the start of stage seven on Saturday.
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).