Bradley Wiggins has lost a key domestique in the first week of the Tour de France but main rival Cadel Evans has stopped short of saying the loss is advantageous to his own title defence.

Wiggins’s Sky teammate Kanstantsin Siutsou fractured his left tibia in a crash during the third stage yesterday and was forced to abandon leaving Wiggins a man short.

The Belarusian had worked extensively with Sky’s yellow jersey hopeful throughout the season and in the lead-up to the Tour.

“Certainly, every man helps. You’d rather be firing on eight cylinders than seven that’s always the way,” BMC leader Evans said.

“I don’t know about advantageous. I’m sorry for him, whenever one of your colleagues has an accident like that you feel sorry for them. When you’re in hospital, sitting watching the race, really, it’s a horrible experience.

“We’ll see, with (Richie) Porte, (Michael) Rogers and (Chris) Froome they have a really strong team but we’ll see when we get to the crucial moments.”

Sky had another unlucky run at the Tour today with Mark Cavendish and Bernhard Eisel among those that hit the tarmac in a big crash within the final 3km of the sprinter friendly fourth stage.

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