Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) escaped serious injury after crashing at speed in the closing kilometres of stage 2 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, and reckons he will be OK to fight on for the overall title, despite losing the leader's yellow jersey to Daryl Impey.
Kwiatkowski, who won Sunday's prologue to put himself in yellow, slid out going through a roundabout inside the final two kilometres and took a few minutes to get back on his bike and complete the stage.
Given the incident occurred in the final three kilometres, he was given the same time as the bunch, but he lost the jersey to Impey due to bonus seconds. The South African took third place in the sprint and with it four seconds, having started the day second overall just two seconds behind The Team Sky rider.
Kwiatkowski arrived at the Team Sky bus while his teammates were warming down and got straight on board. After a shower and a medical once-over, he emerged to speak to reporters about the crash.
"I probably went a bit too quick into the roundabout, maybe one pedal revolution too much, trying to catch Geraint Thomas' wheel, and yeah, I was directly on the ground," Kwiatkowski said.
"I couldn't avoid it. That was a bad moment. I just hope I'm all right. I think I'm all right…."
Kwiatkowski's yellow jersey was ripped on the left shoulder blade and he had a cut on his left elbow, which had been bandaged by the time he emerged from the bus. It seems that, despite the heavy nature of the fall, most of the damage was superficial.
With five key stages coming up in the battle for the overall title – a team time trial on Wednesday followed by four back-to-back mountain stages – Kwiatkowski sounded relatively optimistic that the crash wouldn't derail his ambitions.
"It's hard to say. I've taken some skin off, but apart from that I think I'm all right," he said. "I should be fine. Let's hope I can stay quite relaxed without any hurt, and that I won't have any pain on my time trial bike tomorrow, which will be important.
"I believe it's not [something that will affect me in the mountain stages]. Let's see how I feel tomorrow morning. So far nothing is broken, so as far as I can continue I'm happy."
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