Belfast Telegraph

Chris Froome in front but Edvald Boasson Hagen injury is huge blow

By Ian Parker

Chris Froome safely came through another day of the Tour de France in yellow but lost a key Team Sky deputy after Edvald Boasson Hagen suffered fractures to his arm and shoulder in a late crash.

The Norwegian went over his handlebars in a major pile-up a little under three kilometres from the finish of stage 12 in Tours, and was listed as having small fractures to his upper arm and shoulder blade before being later ruled out of the remainder of the Tour.

It was actually Boasson Hagen's second tumble of the day after a less damaging spill in the feed zone saw him hurt his elbow.

Froome – who continues to lead the Tour by a margin of three minutes and 25 seconds over Alejandro Valverde – had been ahead of the crash, having moved up along with David Lopez to stay close to the front and out of trouble on the tight and twisty lead up to the finish line.

Froome said: "I don't know much at the moment, only that Edvald Boasson Hagen went down, probably 2km from the finish in a pile-up there.

"He came in holding his shoulder and I think he's in pain with that and with the doctors now getting it checked out.

"Edvald's a huge part of the team – he's such a versatile rider in the mountains, and on the flats, so I really hope he's all right."

With Geraint Thomas already riding on a cracked pelvis he suffered on the opening stage, and Vasili Kiryienka eliminated after missing the time cut on stage nine in the Pyrenees, Froome's supporting squad is showing signs of fragility.

Team principal Sir Dave Brailsford insisted Sky would cope.

"It's not ideal but it's not the end of the world either," he said.

"The number of rivals we're going to have to mark is becoming less and less.

"If you put a line through everybody who's over a quarter of an hour down in this race, there's not a lot of blokes left.

"So it's a question of being more strategic and more tactical."

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