Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) could be forced to drop out of the Tour de France due to the injuries sustained in the huge crash five kilometres from the finish of stage one.
Welshman Thomas, who was set to be a key domestique for yellow jersey favourite Chris Froome, went over his handlebars in the crash on Saturday, with Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) also among those to hit the deck.
It was initially feared Thomas, part of Great Britain’s world record-breaking team pursuit quartet at the 2012 Olympic Games, would not start stage two but the 27-year-old battled through to finish 196th – more than 17 minutes behind stage winner Jan Bakelants (RadioShack-Leopard).
And Team Sky chief Sir Dave Brailsford admitted the situation was being very closely monitored.
“Our medical staff is doing everything possible,” he said.
“It’s a very fine line – you can agitate and make it worse or it might be possible to make it better depending on the injury.
“Sometimes you have to protect them from themselves. These guys won’t quit unless there’s something actually worse.”
Thomas, who wore the white jersey for seven stages when he last rode the Tour in 2011, admitted he had found yesterday’s 154km stage difficult to complete.
“It was like a win itself to get to the finish,” he said after finishing in Ajaccio.
“I had so much pain around my hip; I couldn’t get out of the saddle and couldn’t follow the accelerations today.
“I was out the back, trying to use the motorbikes and cars to get in. Fortunately, the break went quickly. That helped me out and I managed to get back in.”