The general consensus was that Corsica was likely to exact a significant toll on the Tour de France peloton. Chris Froome no doubt spoke for many when he said he was looking forward to getting to mainland France, where the race should settle down, especially following tomorrow's team time trial in Nice.
Froome's Team Sky teammate Geraint Thomas will be happier than most to put Corsica behind him. After hitting the deck hard on stage one into Bastia, the Welshman has ridden the last two days with a small fracture in his pelvis. At today's finish in Calvi, he described the last two days as "probably the worst I've ever had on a bike". Thomas, though, is refusing to quit, for now at least.
Speaking to the press after the finish in Calvi, Thomas declared he is determined to go as far as he can, having striven so hard to prepare himself for the Tour. "I've done so much to lose weight and get fit for this, so I'm not just going to give up straight away. The experts have said it's not going to get any worse. I'm going to give it a few days and see if the pain comes down," he said.
He added: "My mum doesn't want me to, but it's the Tour. It's not your average race. I'm definitely going to keep fighting. It felt a lot better today than yesterday, and it also felt a lot better at the end than it did at the start. But I've got a crack on my bone, so it's going to hurt, isn't it."
Thomas admitted the timing of the injury was particularly frustrating. "I was really looking forward to team time trial, but it's just turned into a case of survival now over these first few days."
He recalled his first Tour experience, which he struggled through as a young pro on the Barloworld team. "It reminds me of 2007, but for different reasons. I'm struggling at the back again. But I've been there before and I'll keep fighting," he said.
Froome acknowledged that Thomas' battling performance is an inspiration to him and the rest of the team. "He came up to the front after about 100k's today and shouted, ‘Yeah! Come on!' That made us all smile. He's got fighting spirit. He's in pain but he's really up for it and I think that just lifts the rest of us," Froome said.
"It's remarkable what he's doing and it's great to see the camaraderie shown towards him. Even guys on other teams were giving him a little push today. I think if he can get through the next few days he'll start feeling better and better. If he can survive through the next few days and feel better afterwards then that would be great for us."
Team principal Dave Brailsford explained Thomas' injury will go one of two ways: "Normally with injuries like his, riding aggravates it and it gets to the point where you can't continue. But sometimes, you get through the pain barrier and the injury starts to heal and you ride through it. We're still in that grey area of not knowing which way it's going to go."
Thomas' teammate Richie Porte said simply, "He's a tough Welshman and I think he'll make it all the way to Paris, to be honest. I really do – really, really!"
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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).
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