This year’s Tour de France couldn’t have gotten off to a more dramatic start for Team Sky’s Ian Stannard.
With just 10km to go on the opening stage of the world’s most gruelling cycling challenge, Stannard was embroiled in an accident in front of him.
He came down hard on his pelvis, but luckily came away from the crash with light grazes and bruising.
But he was affected for the next two stages as he learned to ride through the pain as was his team mate, London 2012 Team Pursuit gold medallist Geraint Thomas who was involved in a fall inside the last kilometre of the opening stage - the Welshman being diagnosed as having suffered a small fracture in his pelvis.
After getting through the hilly second and third stages, the action moved to Nice for the 25km Stage Four team time trial where Stannard was primed as one of the key riders in Sky’s weaponry.
And he lead the Sky riders across the line, just three shy of the fastest time of the day set by Orica-Green Edge. That result saw Froome move up to seventh place overall, just seconds off the lead but nicely placed in his quest for yellow.
Stannard said: “The team time trial went really well. In view of my injuries I couldn’t believe how it actually went.
“But with the stage only being 25kms I’ve now actually got the first time to sit down and take a few minutes to sit back and switch off, it’s just been non-stop since the race started.”
In Wednesday’s fifth stage, Stannard and his Sky team-mates were held up in a crash 200 metres from the finish and lost time.