A dislocated shoulder suffered in a crash early on today’s Tour stage six hindered Andre Greipel’s finishing sprint into Metz, team-mate and lead-out man Greg Henderson has revealed.
The Lotto-Belisol sprinter, who won the previous two stages of this year’s Tour, hit the ground after around 35km of racing, grazing and momentarily dislocating his left shouder and causing swelling to his left wrist.
A further crash with around 50km to go meant Greipel was unable to sprint at his full capacity, but was nevertheless able to finish second behind Liquigas-Cannondale’s Peter Sagan and ahead of his other green jersey rival, Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge).
“The first crash was really bad and he popped his shoulder out and it popped straight back in,” Henderson told CW at the finish. “His wrist was also really swollen and he was like: ‘no I’m not sprinting, I’m not sprinting.’”
Henderson also revealed that he twice had to convince his team-mate to ride behind the Lotto-Belisol lead-out with the hope of remaining in the hunt for the green jersey.
“I gave him ten minutes and I said: ‘you don’t have to win. Just stay with us, we’ll put you in position and you can run a top ten because then you get some points.’ You could see him thinking, and then I got back on the radio again and I said, ‘righto, we’re sprinting for Greipel again.’”
Once again the Lotto-Belisol train delivered Greipel to a perfect position to sprint for the finish but Sagan, who was latched onto the German’s wheel, proved too strong.
“It [the lead-out] was perfect,” Henderson added. “I did my job and unfortunately Greipel was at 80%. You can’t sprint at 80% to win.”
Sagan’s win meant he extended his lead at the top of the Points Classification to 209 points, 31 ahead of Goss in second. Greipel remains third on 167, well clear of Mark Cavendish who was caught behind the day’s large crash and remains on 129 points.