LILLE, France (REUTERS) - Defending champion Chris Froome crashed during the fourth stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday, sustaining bruises and a possible wrist injury, but his Team Sky boss said he was OK.
The Briton fell off his bike 5km into the 163.5km ride from Le Touquet but quickly got back after bruising his left hip, shoulder, knee and elbow. "It's alright, it's alright. We got really scared because it was a heavy fall but he seems to be OK. He says it's OK," said Team Sky sports director Nicolas Portal.
Froome, fifth overall and two seconds behind Italian Vincenzo Nibali, crashed on the same side during last month's Criterium du Dauphine.
After Tuesday's incident, he received treatment from race doctor Florence Pommerie and was being helped back into the peloton by his Sky team-mates. "He's got bruises on his left side. He must be hurting a little," said Pommerie. "His wrist is also hurting," she added, explaining further assessment would be done later.
Portal handed over a splint to Vasil Kiryienka for the Belarusian to bring it to Froome, whose wrist will be put to the test on the cobblestones that mark Wednesday's 155.5km fifth stage from Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut. "We're taking as much precautions as we can," he said.
Another overall contender, Dutchman Baike Mollema, was caught up in the crash, but did not seem injured.