Sir Bradley Wiggins has backed Team Sky colleague Chris Froome to bounce back from his withdrawal from the Tour de France.
Wiggins crashed out of the 2011 Tour with a broken collarbone in the first week before responding to become the race’s first British winner the following year.
Froome, Wiggins’ successor as champion, abandoned the Tour after crashing three times in two days. The pain of his injuries was too great for him to continue.
Wiggins, speaking via his agent, said: “It’s a tough day. I never like to see a great racer go down but Chris will be back.
“Today (Wednesday) has shown how hard it is to win the Tour de France, but the team will have prepared for this and they’ll deal with it.”
Holland’s Lars Boom prevailed amid the carnage which saw defending champion Froome abandon the Tour to win a thrilling fifth stage over the cobbles of northern France yesterday.
The Ypres to Arenburg Porte du Hinaut stage commemorated 100 years since the start of World War One and featured many of the cobbles used in the Paris-Roubaix one-day race ‘the Hell of the North’.
Wet weather forced race organisers to remove two of the nine cobbled sections, but Froome’s falls came prior to the first, where the day’s racing drama began.
Boom (Belkin) was in the day’s breakaway and proved the strongest over the cobbles on an epic day’s racing to win by 19 seconds from Vincenzo Nibali and his Astana team-mate Jakob Fuglsang.
It was a sensational ride from the Italian as he preserved his place in the leader’s yellow jersey, by two seconds from Fuglsang and 44 seconds from Peter Sagan (Cannondale).
Stage 7 of this year’s Tour de France takes place tomorrow, a 233km ride from Epernay in the Marne region of northern France to Nancy, which can be found in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department closer to the border with western Germany.