Poels continues racing with broken rib, bruised lung after crash-marred Tour de France opener

Wout Poels (Bahrain McLaren) crashed during stage 1 of the Tour de France
Wout Poels (Bahrain McLaren) crashed during stage 1 of the Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images)

Wout Poels (Bahrain McLaren) confirmed on Sunday that he has suffered a fractured rib and a bruised lung, injuries that were sustained in the crash-marred finale of stage 1 of the Tour de France in Nice. 

"Pretty hectic start to le tour yesterday!," Poels wrote in a post on his personal Instagram account Sunday morning. 

"Managed to dodge the crashes until 2.9km. Pretty sore but hope to come back fighting. Fracture to the rib and few bruises to the lung so let’s see how we get on today."

The opening stage of the Tour saw multiple crashes due to heavy rain and slick road conditions on the tricky and twisting descents, and the straight run-in to the finish line along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.

Riders to go down in the crashes included Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers), who crashed twice and finished more than 13 minutes behind stage winner Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates). 

Other riders to get caught up in crashes throughout the race included Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Nairo Quintana (Arkea Samsic), Ilnur Zakarin (CCC Team), Kevin Ledanois (Akea-Samsic), Domeinco Pozzovivo (NTT Pro Cycling), Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain McLaren).

John Degenkolb (Lotto Soudal), who crashed with his teammate Ewan, finished the race alone, with a cut knee and elbow, 18 minutes down and outside of the time limit for the stage, while his teammate Philippe Gilbert was a non-starter on stage 2 after fracturing his kneecap in a crash.

Race officials announced during the stage that they would take the times for the general classification at the 3km to go mark in order to avoid danger in the finale.

Danger was unavoidable, however, as a mass crash at 2.9km to go caused more riders to go down including Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) along with Bahrain McLaren's Wout Poels and Rafael Valls. 

Bahrain McLaren confirmed on Sunday morning that Valls had withdrawn from the Tour de France after fracturing his right femur in the crash. 

Poels confirmed that he would start stage 2 and see how he felt during the stage but hoped to recover enough to continue the three-week race. He also wished his teammate Valls a quick recovery.

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Kirsten Frattini
Women's Editor

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.