|Tour de France: 1-23 July|
|Coverage: Live text commentary of every stage on the BBC Sport website. BBC Radio coverage on 5 live sports extra and/or website from 14:30 BST on every stage.|
Britain’s Geraint Thomas says being forced out of the Tour de France by injury is “a bitter pill to swallow”.
Thomas, one of leader Chris Froome’s key helpers in the mountains, fell and broke his collarbone on the descent of the Col de la Biche during stage nine.
The Team Sky rider, 31, also crashed out on stage nine of the Giro d’Italia.
“It’s still quite raw, the emotions of it all,” the Welshman said. “I’m sure it will hit me when I go home and realise I’m not in the race any more.”
Thomas, who has finished 15th in the Tour de France the past two years, won the opening 14km time trial this year in Dusseldorf and was second overall when he crashed on Sunday.
“It’s been tough because I’ve worked so hard recently and felt like in the Giro that I was in really top shape – and obviously what happened there happened and through no fault of my own,” he told BBC Sport.
“Here is one of the highlights of my career really – winning a stage and yellow jersey for so long – and then for it to end like that it’s a bitter pill to swallow.
“Rafal Majka was trying to get past me a while, then he slapped on [the brakes] right in front of me, literally 10 seconds after I let him past. I was on his wheel doing 60km/h an hour, there’s absolutely nowhere to go. [Matteo] Trentin came down as well and it was just carnage really.”
Asked if Team Sky could protect fellow Briton Froome’s 18-second advantage, he added: “The boys are still super strong, mentally as much as physically. They’re a real good group and they’ll really pull together now. I’ve got every confidence that they’ll be able to do the job with Froomey.”
Thomas, who will be seeing a specialist about his injury in Cardiff on Tuesday, said he will have an operation as soon as possible.
“I’ll be able to go back on the bike really soon,” he said. “Goals-wise I don’t know. I’ll leave it a week, let the dust settle and decide what will motivate me until the end of the season.
“At the moment I just want to go down the pub.”
Porte ‘lucky’ to walk away after crash
Thomas’ former Team Sky team-mate Richie Porte says he hopes to return to racing before the end of the season after a high-speed crash during stage nine ended his hopes in the Tour.
The Australian Team BMC rider has spoken from his hospital bed after suffering a broken collarbone and pelvis.
“I’m in a fair bit of pain and it’s a big disappointment,” Porte said in a video released on his team’s Facebook page.
“I was in great form and the team were really strong around me as well, so it’s disappointing – but I think after seeing the crash I’m lucky also that I walked away with the injuries that I have.”
Porte, who was one of the pre-race favourites, was taken by ambulance from the course in a neck brace.
“I don’t think I’ll be back on my bike for a good while now. The team’s good with that, they say ‘just recover, there’s no rush to come back’ and hopefully I’ll pull the BMC jersey on by the end of the year.”
On his recollection of the crash, the 32-year-old added: “I remember I came into the corner, it wasn’t like we were going too fast or anything like that, but I just remember I locked the back wheel up and that was it really.
“The next thing I was heading for the grass verge on the corner. I stayed conscious the whole time, I remember the whole thing.
“I must say thank you to the medical staff in the race and also in the hospital, they’ve been absolutely fantastic.”