Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon18) is fighting to stay in the Tour de France has he continues to recover from his stage 1 crash. The Irish sprinter hit the deck in the first sprint of the race, and injured his back, side and right hand – which required several stitches.
He has not contested the bunch sprints since and thought his race was over on stage 5 when the race hit the first serious climbs."
Stage 5 was hard and I got dropped early on," he told Cyclingnews.
"I got back in after the break was formed but I thought the race was over for me when I was dropped. It was all about survival. Even just surviving was a bit of a struggle." Stages 7 sees the start of three back-to-back days in the Pyrenees before the race heads into the first rest-day. Bennett's plan is simply to get through the next few days before looking ahead in the race.
Stage 7 should not pose that much trouble. Although the race climbs the Col d'Aspin there is a descent to the finish and only two categorised ascents. The next two stages will prove far more difficult. Bennett is hanging in there and the race has yet to see a rider abandon.
"I'm just trying to get within the time limit and survive. It's not even really about recovery." Bennett had been on a course of medication for his cut hand but that has stopped early due to the speed at which his body had recovered.
"I've stopped the antibiotics and my back is healing up. There's movement in my fingers so in that sense things are looking up. I now just have to get the antibiotics out of my system. That will make a big difference. The finger healed a lot earlier than expected so that's meant I could end the course a few days earlier."
"I don't know how much further I can look ahead. Saturday is going to be brutal. I'm holding about a kilo of water due to the course so I'm hoping that if I lose that then I can get over the climbs a little better. I'm sleeping well now so that's really helping."