Thibaut Pinot is still spending three hours a day on the treatment table following his crash on the opening day of the Tour de France, but he and his Groupama-FDJ team were reassured after the race's first summit finish on stage 4.
Pinot suffered abrasions to his right-hand side when he fell during the late pile-up in Nice, but the most concerning injury was a blow to his lower back from a rider who crashed into him, leaving him with a haemetoma.
According to L'Equipe, since the crash Pinot has been spending 90 minutes each morning in the hands of the team's osteopath and pysiotherapist, with cryotherapy and electrotherapy among the treatments. After each stage, he has been back on the massage table for two hours, sometimes not getting to bed before 11pm.
He is also reportedly using kinesiology tape on his back and using a memory foam mattress to reduced pressure points while he sleeps.
"Sunday and Monday, his back was completely seized up," Groupama-FDJ doctor Jacky Maillot told L'Equipe. "On Tuesday he was not at 100 per cent, that's for sure - it's not the Thibaut of the Dauphiné.
"But it's getting better, and we are reassured. Tuesday was a good test. Over the next few days it will get better. We can be reasonably optimistic."
Pinot himself was pessimistic ahead of the first summit finish at Orcières-Merlette, seemingly resigning himself to losing time to his rivals. However, he managed to finished in the lead group of 16 riders, losing only bonus seconds to Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
"If you'd told me that on Sunday or Monday, I'd have signed for it straight away. I've been miserably dragging myself around for two days but this went a lot better," Pinot said.
"It was a steady climb and the pace was super fast, with Jumbo-Visma setting an infernal tempo. There wasn't much that could be done. In the end, it's a very satisfying result."
Another source of encouragement for Pinot came in the form of David Gaudu, who was also suffering after coming down in the same opening-day crash but who managed to stay with Pinot much of the way up to Orcières-Merlette.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.