Froome offered relief on hell stage
Wet weather has forced the Tour de France organisers to remove two of the nine cobbled sections from Wednesday's fifth stage, giving Chris Froome and his injured wrist a little relief on what is expected to be a hellish day in northern France.
The Team Sky leader crashed on Tuesday's fourth stage and was expecting a difficult afternoon on the fifth stage from Ypres to Arenburg Porte du Hinaut, a stage which commemorates 100 years since the start of World War One.
"Due to bad weather and road conditions, two cobbled sectors have been removed from stage five," a statement on letour.com read.
"They are sector seven, the 1,000-metres stretch of cobbles at Mons-en-Pevele, and sector five, which is the 1,400-metres long portion from Orchies to Beuvry-la-Foret.
"It takes the total of paves (cobbled) sections down to 13 kilometres but the race will remain highly attractive.
"The total distance is of stage five will be 152.5-kilometres, which is 3km less than initially planned."
The stage features many of the cobbled sections used in the Paris-Roubaix 'Hell of the North' one-day race.
Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford welcomed the decision.
He said on letour.com: "The riders' safety must always come first. It's completely different to have cobbles on a one-day race or on a GC (general classification) race when it can have a major impact on the outcome.
"It would have been a shame after such a fantastic start in England to have a stage with such an impact on the GC."
Froome, who also fell on his left side during June's Criterium du Dauphine, was sent for a precautionary X-ray after his wrist bore the brunt of the fall, but Team Sky announced late on Tuesday that the 29-year-old was okay to continue.
Asked about Froome on Wednesday morning, Brailsford added: "He's sore. But it should be all right.
"It's not an ideal scenario but he's all set for this stage. He's a fighter."